by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The word to the wise passed down the Scouting grapevine was this: If you want a seat at the annual Scouting Awards Mass at St. Peter Cathedral here on April 25, you had better come early.
It was good advice, because there was a tremendous increase in the number of awards given out this year. Every pew was filled with Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, Camp Fire Boys and Girls, Scout leaders, family members, and friends of Scouting.
Last year, the committee awarded 60 Ad Altare Dei and seven Pope Pius XII awards, said Harold S. Bradley, chairman of the archdiocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting.
This year, the committee gave out 152: 97 Ad Altare Dei, 23 Pope Pius XII, 13 Spirit Alive, six St. George, two St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, six Bronze Pelican, two Companion On A Journey, and two St. Anne awards.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann was the main celebrant and homilist for the Mass; concelebrating were Father Shawn Tunink, Catholic Committee on Scouting chaplain and associate pastor of Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka, and Father Richard Halvorson, pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Paola.
In his homily, Archbishop Naumann said that even very challenging circumstances can become opportunities to bring the love of God to others. He encouraged the gathered Scouts to pray, so they might recognize God when he speaks to them, and praised the Scouts and their leaders for their commitment to both Catholic and Scouting values.
“That’s why I am so pleased that you have invested so much time and energy in Scouting — in this religious part of Scouting — to come to know your faith better and to know God better,” said the archbishop.
Archbishop Naumann and Father Tunink each received the St. George and St. Anne awards.
The St. George award was also conferred on Shawn Madden, Bill Mentzer, William Rincon and Sue Volz.
The Companion On A Journey award was presented to Dorothy Barnthouse and Elaine Hatch.
The St. Elizabeth Ann Seton award was presented to Teresa Kostusik and Grace Thompson.
The Bronze Pelican award was conferred on Joe Bollig, Paul Camarata, Lisa Grasing, Therese Malnar, Irene Owen, and Samuel Schissler.
Bradley accepted the 2009 Quality Diocese Award, given to the archdiocese from the National Catholic Committee on Scouting.
The next event scheduled by the archdiocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting is the second Holy Smokes Cookout and Camporee, Aug. 28-29, at Savior Pastoral Cen- ter in Kansas City, Kan.
For information about the archdiocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, visit the Web site at: www. archkck.org; go to the Department of Parish Ministries tab and on its pull- down menu, click on “Youth”; then click on “Arch Scout,” located on the left-hand side of the page.