Scouting dinner sees changing of the guard

Longtime diocesan Scouting committee chair George LeCrone Sr. passes the torch to new leader Chris Manning

By Dan McWilliams

Bishop Stika stands with religious-award recipients (from left) Blaine Liuag, Ryan Seaver, Daniel J. LeBlanc, and Graham Karnes. 

The annual diocesan Scouting Mass and dinner March 17 saw a changing of the guard along with the presentation of youth and adult awards.

The Mass was the first Scouting liturgy to be held in the new Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

At the dinner, George LeCrone Sr., chairman of the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, formally handed over the reins of that job to Chris Manning, who sits on the executive board of the Boy Scouts of America Great Smoky Mountain Council. Mr. LeCrone had served as chairman of the committee since 1989. During the dinner, he received an award naming him chairman emeritus, effective April 1.

Four Scouts were honored at Mass. Daniel J. LeBlanc received the Pillar of Faith Award, which goes to a Scout who has received all four Scout-related awards: the Light of Christ, Ad Altare Dei, Parvuli Dei, and Pope Pius XII honors.

Receiving their Pope Pius XII awards at Mass were Daniel, Blaine Liuag, and Ryan Seaver. Cub Scout Graham Karnes received the Light of Chris Award.

Bishop Stika and Victor Nored, a Cub Scout in Pack 20, trade headwear and stand with a cardboard cutout of Pope Francis at the Scouting dinner.

The Pope Pius XII Award is Catholic Scouting’s Church-related ministries and vocation program. The purpose of the Light of Christ Award is to help a Cub Scout develop a personal relationship with Jesus.

“To those young men and women who are Scouts, it’s a very noble thing. It’s a beautiful thing, because you’re learning that you can accomplish things that you never thought you could. And that’s a good thing,” Bishop Stika said in his homily. “To all of you, especially those who are being honored today, I just say congratulations. You’ve discovered a little bit more about yourself. To those who volunteer with the Scouts, I’ve got to say thanks as well. Why? Because they’re giving of their extra time in order to help people discover who they need to be.”

Bishop Stika and Martin Vargas share a laugh after the bishop and Mr. LeCrone (above) presented Mr. Vargas with the Bronze Pelican certificate and medal.

Also at the dinner, Mr. LeCrone presented the National Catholic Committee on Scouting’s Quality Diocese Award to Bishop Stika, an honor the Diocese of Knoxville has earned for 15 years in a row. The award recognizes those dioceses that promote and achieve a quality Catholic Scouting program. It is an opportunity for the NCCS to salute those dioceses who truly deliver exceptional programs to youth members at all levels of Boy Scouts of America programs.

Martin Vargas received the Bronze Pelican Award at the dinner for his contributions to Catholic Scouting.

The dinner was attended by Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, American Heritage Girls, and their families.

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