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Cathedral Mass celebrates 100 years of scouting

By Jim Lockwood
Posted: 3/5/2010

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Twin brothers Alexander and Dante Cattaneo, 9, prepare for the flag ceremony that preceded a Mass to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America Feb. 28 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End. The Cattaneos are cub scouts from Pack 75, which meets at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Winthrop. Pilot photo/ Jim Lockwood

SOUTH END -- Members of almost all scouting programs promise to honor God as they recite their promises and oaths at meetings.

At a Feb. 28 Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Catholic scouts from across the Archdiocese of Boston had an opportunity to make good on that promise.

The Mass, which marked the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, was attended by about 800 scouts and their families, according to Frank Harrington, a member of the scouting committee who organized the day.

“Scouting is very much tied to duty to God and being reverent, so it is very appropriate to have an event like this for scouting,” Harrington said.

Bishop John Dooher, south regional bishop, served as the main celebrant and homilist.

Bishop Dooher was also assisted by other priests, including the archdiocese’s new scouting chaplain Father Matt Westcott, pastor of St. John Chrysostom Parish in West Roxbury Father David Michael, pastor of St. Agnes in Reading Father Steve Rock, pastor of St. Joseph in Holbrook Father Ed Riley, and Father Matt Williams, the director of the archdiocese’s youth and young adult ministry office.

A flag ceremony occurred prior to the Mass, which featured the flags of various scouting organizations within the boundaries of the archdiocese.

During his homily, Bishop Dooher, himself a former scout, reminded scouts of their call to discipleship through living the faith.

“The message is to hear Jesus in everything he says,” Bishop Dooher said. “When we do that and try to put it into action, then God’s love and God’s light will shine through us and touch other people.”

At the conclusion of the Mass, the scouts presented Father Westcott with a scout sash and Bishop Dooher with a Norman Rockwell print.

Speaking to The Pilot following the Mass, Father Westcott, a former Eagle scout who is now parochial vicar at St. Mary of the Nativity Parish in Scituate, echoed the sentiments of Bishop Dooher.

“We are called to bring Christ wherever we are, including the Scouting movement,” Father Westcott said.

“Our faith isn’t confined to the four walls of a church,” he added.

Some of the scouts in attendance also had their own insights as to how faith integrates with their scouting experience.

One such scout was Kyra Pellant, 15, a Venture scout of Crew 42 in Quincy. Venture scouting is a co-ed organization affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America that participates in “high-adventure” outings.

“In Venturing, a main lesson for me is working together,” said Pellant. “I let my faith show by helping others.”

Joseph Spadoni, a Life scout and chaplain’s aide in Boy Scout Troop 44 of Walpole, said he leads a prayer after his troop mates recite the scout oath. He said his troop also maintains a book of prayer intentions.

Andrew Hunter, 16, a Star scout of Troops 205 and 242 of Newton, had another perspective on reverence.

“It’s important to respect people that are older than you,” he said.