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The Culture of a Catholic Troop

Our Faith Permeates All We Do

By Stu Nolan

When we set off to establish an expressly Catholic youth program that would combine the best that Scouting has to offer with the fullness of Truth communicated in the teachings of our faith, the idea was to pay more than lip service to the notion that a "Scout is Reverent". At the time, we had no idea just how bad the moral ambiguity of the Boy Scouts of America had become, or how lost the national institution had become without a working moral compass. All we knew was that the average Scout troop, whether affiliated with a Catholic institution or not, rarely has a true culture of faithfulness.

At Troop 1212, we pray together early and often, not just at the beginning and the end of a meeting, but also amidst the routines of our outdoor adventures. We pray before meals, we pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in the 3PM hour, and we pray the rosary when gathered around the campfire at night. To launch our summer camp, we attended Sunday Mass together, and then were blessed throughout the ensuing week with priests to celebrate daily Mass for us no fewer than four of the six days we were away. This is essential to our troop life because a commitment to prayer and the sacraments is essential to each of our individual lives.

Our commitment to the meaning of our lives cannot waiver when we are at work, or on vacation. It must be pervasive. If you have never prayed before the Breastplate of St. Patrick or the Prayer of St. Thomas More, take a look at these beautiful testimonies to the Highest Priority in our lives, a dedication to everlasting beauty and Truth.

Think about all the ways that our Troop culture is created and perpetuated, because we are constantly under assault by a culture dramatically at odds with a Catholic culture. Words are important, perhaps our most critical form of communicating, but images and sounds also matter.

The modern world is filled with noise in our ears and "noise" in our eyes. Crude language and immodest images bombard us in magazines, popular music, commercial television and feature films. A capitalist economy, without a strong Christian culture to discipline it, preaches materialism all the time, by showing us the things, things, and more things, that -- the advertisers imply -- we should all want and that will make us happy. And these same messages even encourage us to think of one another as things, to be used for our own immediate pleasure.

Of course, all things, and even emotions, are temporary and fleeting. They do not truly satisfy. They cannot make us happy. Only in service to God the Father, by whom and for whom we were created, can we find the deep and profound happiness of a hunger satisfied, a thirst quenched. Only in God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, do we find "The Way" to the Father.

There should never be any doubt that the virtues we teach are not subject to change with current fashion. They are rooted in the unchanging Truth that the teachings of the Magisterium have preserved for two millennia.

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