I met two wonderful young Rangers this afternoon – scouting jargon for girl scouts or girl guides – and interviewed them for my weekend radio show, Vatican Insider. That conversation with Franziska from Cologne, Germany and Alexandra from Warsaw, Poland will air next weekend.
I felt privileged to be in the presence of these terrific and personable young ladies and leaders and you will understand why when you listen to them talk about their life and experiences in scouting and their time in Rome with the Euromoot (scout jargon for an international meeting) that concluded with a meeting this morning with Pope Francis, followed by Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica presided over by Italian Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.
P.S. More scouting jargon: Rovers are boy scouts.
TWO STORIES – ONE SCOUTING WORLD:
CATHOLIC SCOUT TROOPS IN EUROPE FIND FELLOWSHIP IN SACRAMENTS
By Courtney Grogan (CNA).- This week, as many as 5,000 Catholic scouts are walking historic pilgrimage routes to Rome that will culminate in a private audience with Pope Francis and a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Aug. 3.
Catholic scout troops are a European tradition that started in the early 20th century with Venerable Jacques Sevin, a French Catholic priest who was inspired by the potential of scouting, founded by his contemporary Robert Baden-Powell in England, for youth development.
Fr. Sevin founded the first Catholic scouting troop, consecrated to the Sacred Heart, in France in 1918.
The Scouts of Europe, a Catholic scouting organization recognized by the Holy See, was founded in the wake of World War II, built on the idea that scouting can help young people “discover that the true European legacy is the capacity to live together in peace and brotherhood around a common aim, Christ,” according to the International Union of European Guides and Scouts – European Scout Federation.
The theme of the scouts’ weeklong trek to Rome, called the “Euromoot,” is “Parate Viam Domini,” which means “prepare the way of the Lord.” The logo includes twelve stars symbolizing the Virgin Mary.
Some of the scouts are walking to Rome by the Way of St. Francis from Assisi, while others have chosen to walk the Way of St. Benedict or part of the medieval Via Francigena. Priests walk with the different scout troops to provide access to the sacraments throughout the pilgrimage.
The scout troops of “rangers” and “rovers” aged 16-21 come from more than 20 countries. Some members of the organization’s North American branch, the Federation of North American Explorers, are also participating in the pilgrimage.
Reflections for the journey focus on St. Catherine of Siena, St. Paul, St. Benedict, St. Francis, and Sts. Cyril and Methodius as ideal examples of heroic virtue to be imitated.
“The most important thing … for us as leaders … is to take their souls to God, their sanctity is essential,” Spanish scout leader Flory Delgado told CNA.
Delgado, 32, has been involved with Catholic scouting her entire life before becoming a volunteer leader for the Scouts of Europe. Delgado’s parents met through their Catholic scouting troops in Spain.
“For us scouting is a style of life,” she explained. The aim of this lifestyle is God, above all, and then training one’s character, good health, service to others, and practicality, she said.
Delgado said that the scouts try to incorporate their Catholic faith into all of their activities with a particular emphasis on the sacraments and service.
“In every activity, we start with a prayer, we finish with a prayer. We pray together the Angelus,” she said.
In her 14 years serving as a scout leader, Delgado has seen the benefits of getting young people out of the house through scouting.
When you leave your comfort zone, you have to face difficulties, Delgado explained, such as the weight of your backpack on a hiking trip.
“You have to make your own decisions of what we will bring with us, and this is what we will carry on our shoulders,” Delgado said. This is a lesson for life, she explained, you have to take responsibility for your own decisions.
“Also, when you start something, finish something,” she said.
The first Scouts of Europe pilgrimage to Rome took place in 1975, in which 500 scouts met St. Paul VI.
St. John Paul II met with scout delegations on several occasions. In 2003, the pope met the scouts in Castel Gandolfo and said to them:
“Dear young people, be generous in answering Jesus’ call inviting you to put out into the deep and become his witnesses, discovering the trust he puts in you to devise a future together with him. Above all, to fulfil this mission the Church is entrusting to you requires that you cultivate a genuine life of prayer nourished by the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession.”
“Dear Guides and Scouts of Europe, you are a precious gift not only for the Church, but also for the new Europe which you see growing before your eyes, and you have been called to share, with all the ardour of youth, in building the Europe of peoples, so that the dignity of every individual as a child loved by God will be recognized, and a society built on the basis of solidarity and charity,” he said.
POPE URGES SCOUTS TO MAKE SERVICE THEIR WAY OF LIFE
Pope Francis on Saturday met some 5,000 scout rangers and rovers from over 20 countries of the International Union of Guides and Scouts of Europe. The papal audience concluded the weeklong Euromoot 2019 event of the young men and women.
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)
Pope Francis on Saturday urged scouts to give of themselves to others by building, serving and caring for others, saying it will free them from within and enrich the world.
He made the exhortation to some 5,000 young scout men and women from over 20 countries belonging to the International Union of Guides and Scouts of Europe. They met the pope at the end of their Euromoot 2019 event, July 27-August 3, that saw them travelling along historical itineraries of Italy and converging on Rome.
“Give, and it will be given to you”
Noting that during their itinerary, they contemplated Saints Paul, Benedict, Cyril and Methodius, Francis of Assisi and Catherine of Siena who travelled through Italy, the Pope said they gave their lives for others without keeping anything for themselves. The Pope said that the “Gospel is the map of life” where Jesus indicates a clear course to happiness: “Give, and it will be given to you.”
The Pope said that for Jesus, the starting point is giving, not having. It consists of coming out of the comforts of the armchair and going out to the field to give the world a little bit of goodness.
Rewards of giving
The Pope assured that by giving one is not left empty-handed because when it seems that God is taking something away from you, “it is only to give you something more and better”. Jesus makes you happy from within, not outside, by freeing you from the false promises of consumption.
“One receives only by giving .” This, the Pope said is the secret of life. The latest smartphone, the fastest car or the fashionable dress, besides never being enough, he said, will never give them you the joy of feeling loved and loving.
The Pope expressed appreciation for the scouting term “departure”, whereby scouts take upon themselves to serve as a way of life, living the brotherhood of scouting by being open to the others and doing good. “If you build bridges to others,” he said, “you will see others walk those bridges to you.”
“Look at your hands, that are made to build, to serve and to give and say to yourselves: ‘I care, the other concerns me,’” the Pope urged.
The words of Jesus, “Give, and it will be given to you,” the Pope said, is also applied to creation. “If we take care of it, we will have a home tomorrow too.”
Creation, he said, is an open book that teaches that we are in the world to meet others, to create communion because we are all connected. “Creation is made to connect with God and among us,” the Pope said, adding, “It is God’s social media.”
Even the love of the scout rovers and rangers for their common homeland, Europe, the Pope said, requires not only attentive observers but active builders of reconciled and integrated societies that give life to a renewed Europe, not as protectors of spaces but as generators of encounters.