In Scouting various abbreviations are used and these are just a few.
CCS – Catholic Committee on Scouting
NCCS – National Catholic Committee on Scouting
DCCS – Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting
SHAC – Sam Houston Area Council
AAD – Ad Altare Dei
Catholic Scouting is a ministry of the Catholic Church. There are many ministries in the the Catholic Church; this is only one. For example, a ministry that we are all familiar with might be a food pantry. Catholic Scouting ministers to youth registered as members of the Boy Scouts of America. While secular Scouting may be more concerned with Scouting skills as a final objective of Scouting, Catholic Scouting uses the skills learned in Scouting as a tool to achieve a closer union with Our Lord Jesus Christ. There are many Catholic youth registered to troops that are not chartered to Catholic churches or Catholic organizations such as the Knights of Columbus. These youth may participate fully in all of the programs of Catholic Scouting and are eagerly invited to participate and benefit.
Troops, packs and/or crews having their chartering organization as a Catholic church, operate somewhat differently than other Scout troops. For example, decisions of leadership are made at the Pastoral level and not through any vote or committee action. The activities of the troop are focused toward the Good News of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The NCCS, or National Catholic Committee on Scouting, is a committee appointed under the auspices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The NCCS provides leadership and guidance for Catholic churches and Catholic church organizations wishing to provide for youth ministry through Scouting. In addition, the NCCS provides a set of common procedures for youth working to obtain various religious emblems.
The Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting is established by the Bishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to aid, assist, and promote Catholic Scouting within the archdiocese. The chaplain and spiritual advisor is appointed by the Bishop and the goal of the DCCS is to aid and assist pastors and others in the church who are interested in the benefits of Catholic Scouting. The DCCS also coordinates the training of counselors and activities for religious emblem programs.
DCCS meetings are held every second month, with meetings on the third Wednesday of the months of February, April, June, August, and October. A covered dish Christmas party is customarily held in lieu of a meeting in December. The location of the meetings will be announced several weeks before each meeting and this web site should be consulted for such information.
There are four religious emblems available for Scouts registered in programs under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America and who are active practicing Catholics of the Roman rite. In addition, there is a separate emblem for Boy Scouts of the Eastern rite. Any youth considering religious emblems is urged to contact a troop leader, their Pastor, or member of the DCCS for complete details and to discuss eligibility. This web site should be consulted for more complete details on the qualifications for the emblems. Generally the following emblems are available —
- Light of Christ — This emblem is available for Tiger and Wolf Cub Scouts. A boy wanting to work on this emblem should obtain the workbook from the Sam Houston Area Council Scout Shop or other stores offering the manual. Work is done within the family and upon completion the Cubmaster and Pastor approve the work that has been completed and the boy may receive his emblem.
- Parvuli Dei — This emblem is available for Bear and Webelos Cub Scouts. The work on this emblem is very similar to the work on the Light of Christ emblem. A boy wanting to work on this emblem should obtain the workbook from the Sam Houston Area Council Scout Shop or other stores offering the manual. Work is in the family unit and upon completion, the Cubmaster and Pastor approve the work that has been completed and the boy may receive his emblem.
- Ad Altare Dei — This emblem is for Catholic Boy Scouts who are active practicing Catholics and who have completed the sixth grade of school before beginning work on the emblem. The requirements are specific and the emblem may only be earned through working with a trained counselor. Careful attention should be given to the requirements which can be found elsewhere on this site.
- Pope Pius XII — The highest emblem that can be earned in Catholic Boy Scouting is the Pope Pius XII religious emblem. This emblem, like the Ad Altare Dei religious emblem, may only be earned by working with a qualified advisor. This emblem is available for any young man registered as a Scout in the Boy Scouts of America or young woman registered as a Venturer in programs sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America. The Scout or Venturer seeking to work on the Pope Pius XII emblem should be fifteen years of age and have completed the ninth grade in school. Careful attention should be given to the requirements which can be found elsewhere on this site.
- Light is Life — This emblem is for a Scout of the Eastern rite as an alternative to the Ad Altare Dei emblem. The same requirements as Ad Altare Dei apply to this emblem.
No. The religious emblem programs were never designed to be a substitute to religious education. Every Scout seeking to earn a religious emblem must be enrolled in or have completed a program of religious education. Examples of qualifying religious education include CCE programs or equivalent parish sponsored education, or attendance of a private or parochial school where Catholic religious education is taught. Religious emblem programs are structured not as a way or vehicle for earning emblems or patches but as very special way to increase a Scout’s knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ in a personal way. Many of the activities in these programs are attempts to draw direct parallels between what is done in Scouting and the ministry of Our Lord Jesus Christ. A Scout is reviewed upon completion of the program to determine if the Scout has increased his or her knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ as person and savior.
My troop/pack/post is not sponsored by a Catholic organization. Can I still participate in DCCS programs?
Certainly. Any registered Boy Scout or Venturer is invited and urged to participate in the emblem programs and the other activities of the DCCS. Please contact any Catholic Scouting leader for more information, or contact one of the officers of the DCCS.
I am not a Catholic but belong to a troop chartered to a Catholic Church or Catholic Organization, may I earn Catholic Religious Emblems ?
No. Catholic Religious Emblems are available for Scouts who are active practicing Catholics. In addition to Catholic Religious Emblems, there are many other types of religious emblems that can be earned. Please let your Cubmaster, Scoutmaster or Venturing Crew Advisor know of your interest and you will be directed in the proper manner. All religious emblems, regardless of a youth’s beliefs, are aids to assist that youth to develop strength in his or her spiritual journey. We encourage every Scout to participate fully in the religious emblem program of his faith.
There are no adult religious emblems that can be earned. If you are an adult and registered with the Boy Scouts of America, you may become eligible for emblem recognitions. Emblems are awarded based upon service and upon the recommendation of others. No one can recommend themselves for a religious emblems.
The emblems and recognitions that are currently available for adult recognitions in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston are:
- Scroll of Honor — This recognition is for a deserving individual who has worked in Catholic Scouting at least three years.
- Bronze Pelican — This recognition is for a deserving individual who has worked in Catholic Scouting at least five years.
- St. George — This emblem is the highest emblem offered by Catholic Scouting at the local level and is available for a deserving individual who has worked in Catholic Scouting at least 8 years.
If you are aware of someone deserving of a recognition, you should consult the resources section of this web site and download the applicable recommendation application. The proposed recipient should never be told of the nomination. In the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston nominations are made once a year, and all recommendations for the emblem should be in the hands of the Chairperson for Catholic Scouting by December 31st of each year. Award applications are reviewed by a screening committee and award decisions are made after a thorough review of each application and upon the approval of the Chaplain to the DCCS as the official representative of the Bishop. No one should assume that because an application has been filed that an award will be given. Incomplete, inaccurate, or illegible applications require the immediate disqualification regardless of the merit of the nomination or the worthiness of the proposed recipient. Additional information on these awards may be found on web sites in the links page.
You should contact the national secretary for the NCCS at the national office of the Boy Scouts of America to express your interest and desire. We however would recommend that before considering working at the national level that there are many many volunteering activities at the local level which might be of interest to you. Contact any of the officers of the DCCS, who will be willing to assist and help you.
Each year brings a complete range of activities. There are several that are appropriate to most Scouts and others which involve a selection process. The DCCS conducts “Puff-Up” which is a day long set of activities for Tiger Cubs and Cub Scouts on the first Saturday of October each year at Cub World at Camp Strake near Conroe, Texas. The programs, activities, and games offered are unique for Cub Scouts, but are prepared in such a way as to keep Our Lord Jesus Christ in the center of these activities. The day concludes with an outdoor Mass at sunset.
For Boy Scouts and Venturers, the Catholic Scout Retreat occurs during the first full weekend of October, and is a three-day, two-night camp-out at Camp Strake. The programing is both spiritual and fun featuring tests in Scouting skills and religious reflections. Confessions and counseling are offered anytime during the retreat. The retreat opens on Friday night with a campfire. The main events are on Saturday, concluding at night with Mass and a campfire. Scouts are expected to be in camp by 8 pm on Friday and generally can leave by 11 am on Sunday. All meals are provide at a low cost.
Scout Sunday activities are always a big part of Scouting in our archdiocese. Each year a special Scout Sunday will occur either on the first or second Sunday in February. Scouts who have completed work on religious emblems are invited and rewarded. The Bishop of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese conducts a prayer liturgy. After the service, all of the Scouts completing the Ad Altare Dei or Pope Pius XII religious emblem programs are honored and awarded their emblems. In addition, the Archdiocese recognizes the troop, post, and/or pack that has achieved outstanding success in the past year by awarding one or more Bishop’s Trophies.
Finally, a dinner is held in mid February to honor the adults receiving religious emblems or recognitions as determined by the awards committee. The dinner is usually held on Sunday afternoon and is a great time to meet and get acquainted with fellow youth leaders.
Please contact any of the officers listed on this web site; they will be delighted to hear from you.
I am in a(n) (arch)diocese other than Galveston-Houston and wish to get more information about the DCCS in my (arch)diocese. Who should I contact?
The first place to start would be your Pastor. Alternatively, you may ask your local Boy Scout council. You can also contact any of the officers listed on this web site for help.
The current listing of officers can be found on our contact page. Officers are elected on odd-numbered years and serve for two-year terms.
I am interested in becoming a counselor for Ad Altare Dei or Pope Pius XII emblems. What should I do?
The DCCS has training programs three to four times a year to provide required training for counselors. You should contact one of the officers and look at the calendar of events to determine when the next opportunity will occur. Dates of training will be posted on our web site as training schedules are developed. Generally, the required training occurs over a two day period on separate weekends. Lay Apostolate Formation customarily consumes the majority of the day as a liturgy is celebrated as a part of the activity. Emblems Training generally lasts 3 to 4 hours and is a hands-on approach to teaching a leader how to conduct a religious emblem program for Ad Altare Dei or Pope Pius XII emblems.
That is the official patch of the DCCS for Galveston Houston as it bears the official seal of the Archdiocese. It is presented to adult leaders honored with the St. George emblem.