MIAMI | Ronald Geis, Jr., 17, and his brother Matthew, 15, both graduated from St. Mark School in Southwest Ranches. Both now attend Archbishop Edward McCarthy High School next door. On May 23, they both received Pope Pius XII Catholic Boy Scout awards.
“We had to complete a ministries and vocation program which dealt with different life choices such as single, married, religious or ordained occupations and ministries in the Church as a call from God,” said Ronald after the annual Catholic scouting awards presentation Mass at St. Mary Cathedral.
The Geis brothers and five other Boy Scouts received the top award given out at this year’s ceremony.
Pope Pius XII award recipients had to obtain several other age-appropriate awards before receiving the final one. Only one award ranks above the Pope Pius XII award in Archdiocese of Miami scouting: the Archbishop McCarthy award.
“It’s rarely given,” said Barry Ekle, chairman of the archdiocesan Committee on Scouting. “A Scout receives the award maybe once every five years. The program involves community service, an area that Archbishop McCarthy was very much focused on. Scouts put their faith into action completing service projects relating to the social issues important to them.”
Ekle, 57, recalled receiving the Ad Altare Dei medal from Archbishop Coleman Carroll in the mid-1970s, and the Pope Pius XII medal from Archbishop Edward McCarthy in 1977. He said that working for Catholic scouting medals teaches kids to put their faith into action.
“It’s a mind-opening experience,” he said.
Brownies, Cub Scouts, Junior, Cadette and senior Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers and a couple of Eagle Scouts stepped up to the altar to receive awards they had earned.
Among the awards given out, besides the Pope Pius XII, were Mother Mary, Light of Christ; I Live My Faith; Parvuli Dei; My Faith and Promise; and Ad Altare Dei. Scouts came from as far as San Pablo Church in Marathon, in the middle Keys.
In addition to the Scouts, several adults received awards for their contributions to Catholic scouting.
The Scouts also received a patch which Girl Scout Samantha Romero, from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Doral, designed. Called Navigating the Water, the patch echoes the theme of this year’s Scout retreat. It represents Jesus inviting Peter to walk on the water with him.
In his homily, Archbishop Thomas Wenski said that Catholic scouting is an effective way to help Catholic youths to do their duty to God and their country.
“Catholic scouting programs provide a wonderful channel to involve youth in the life of Catholic parishes,” he said. “Today, we single out many of our Scouts for special recognition, but in doing so we also must remember that when one Scout is honored, all Scouts are honored, for the credit belongs to all.”