at St. Patrick's Cathedral
Each year shortly after Easter the archdiocese of New York honors Catholic Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from thruout the archdiocese who've fulfilled the requirements of certain programs involving study of our faith and service to others: Ad Altare Dei and Pope Pius XII programs for boys, and Marian and Spirit Alive for girls. Adults who have made notable contributions to the spiritual development of Scouts may be given the Bronze Pelican, St. George, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, or St. Anne award.
Scout Emblem Sunday this year was last Sunday, April 18, at the 2:00 p.m. Mass.
Five Scouts from Troop Forty in Mt. Vernon, whose chaplain I've been since 1995, completed the Ad Altare Dei (Latin: "to the altar of God")program, which studies the seven sacraments. So did another 111 Scouts. I was part of a team of six who taught the course for the Four Rivers District this year, almost every Wednesday nite from mid-September through February. Sixteen Scouts, including our T40 five, were in this course.
Since I wasn't going to be in a very good position to take photos while concelebrating Mass, I gave my good camera to Sabina, our Scoutmaster's wife. Photos below credit the photographers if they weren't me.
Just going to St. Patrick's Cathedral is a treat in itself.
The Scouts assembled in the International Building, across Fifth Avenue from the cathedral (directly behind the statue of Atlas) and then processed across the avenue into the cathedral while New York's Finest stopped traffic for them. (photo: Sabina Awooner)
On the back wall of the cathedral, to the left as you enter the nave is a bas-relief of St. John Bosco, placed there in 1988 on the occasion of the centennial of his death. We Salesians had a hugh celebration at the cathedral on that occasion, over which Cardinal O'Connor happily presided.The cathedral, begun by Abp. Hughes in the 1850s and completed by Abp. Corrigan around 1900, is a Gothic masterpiece; this shot of the sanctuary will give you some idea. You may be able to notice the hats of deceased cardinals hanging from the ceiling (that's an old custom which, I think, is no longer carried out). (photo: Sabina Awooner)
On the left side of the main altar (as you're facing the altar from the nave--but I shot this photo from the concelebrants' seats opposite) is the archbishop's cathedra (whence the name cathedral for his church), or official chair as the chief pastor, teacher, and priest of the archdiocese. Only the bishop or archbishop may use the cathedra in his cathedral.
But the jewel, perhaps, of St. Patrick's Cathedral (as of many cathedrals) is the Lady Chapel, in the apse directly behind the high altar. It serves now, also, as the Blessed Sacrament chapel of St. Patrick's.
Msgr. Anthony Marchitelli, chaplain of the Archdiocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, presided at the Mass. Usually the archbishop does so, but Abp. Dolan was in Italy on business connected with the cause of canonization of Cardinal Cooke. Eight priests concelebrated with him, including our superior at the provincial house, Fr. Steve Dumais. He's just to the monsignor's left in the photo, and I'm to his left. (photo: Sabina Awooner)
My friend Ed Maselli, an assistant scoutmaster, used his cell phone to "shoot" me during the distribution of Holy Communion.
After Mass, Msgr. Marchitelli presented awards to the Boy and Girl Scouts, 141 of them in all, according to the lists published in the program. Here some of the Ad Altare Dei recipients are lined up, including (third in line) Franklyn Mateo, the SPL of Troop Forty and a future Eagle Scout (awaiting his board of review).
The lay leadership of Catholic Scouting took seats in the sanctuary opposite the concelebrating priests--and outnumbered us considerably.
Msgr. Marchitelli places the St. George Award over my head. Seven men and women, including two priests, received this national Catholic Scouting award for having made "significant and outstanding contributions to the spiritual development of Catholic youths through the Boy Scouting program." Standing behind me is Donna Ragusa, who has been teaching Ad Altare Dei for many years in our Four Rivers District, and with whom I just co-taught the course. Donna also is the District program chairman and works with various training programs, including Cub leadership, NYLT, and Woodbadge. St. George is the patron saint of Scouting, and the award's a great honor. (photo: Sabina Awooner)
Six Scout troops and four Cub packs were awarded the Pope Paul VI quality unit award "for providing outstanding religious and educational programs." Scoutmaster Mr. Renner of Troop Forty is third in line to accept the award on behalf of Troop Forty.
Assistant Scoutmasters Ed and Pete Maselli (back) and Bill Schaffer (front) pose with Tunji and the National Catholic Quality Unit Award given to Troop Forty. (photo: Sabina Awooner)