By Dan McWilliams
Bishop Richard F. Stika presided at the annual diocesan Scouting Mass and breakfast Feb. 12 at the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, but he may have been surprised at the latter event when he was among the youth and adults receiving awards.
Bishop Stika received the St. George Medal from the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting. The St. George Medal is the highest honor a diocesan committee can award to a person who supports the mission of Scouting.
“Bishop Stika epitomizes the dedication of our clergy to the mission of Scouting,” said Chris Manning, chair of the diocesan Scouting committee. “He provides an environment for us to grow the Scouting program as a part of youth ministry with the Knoxville Diocese. He is truly appreciated by all the Scouts and adult Scouters within the diocese.”
Father Dustin Collins, chaplain for the Scouting committee, also received the St. George Medal.
The bishop complimented adult Scouters when he spoke at the breakfast.
“It’s all the many volunteers, people who just want to make a difference in the lives of those who follow us. So to all of you, I want to say thank you,” he said.
Knoxville “is a beautiful diocese,” Bishop Stika told the Scouters. “So much is being accomplished and will be accomplished. Why? The strength of the family and faith and knowing that God invites each and every one of us to reach our potential.”
Mr. Manning recognized four people in the audience at the breakfast: Marilyn Bresnan, community partnerships manager for the Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians; Nathan Cunningham, director of field service for local Boy Scouts; James Gaddis, district executive for the Mount LeConte District of the Boy Scouts; and John Sheridan, immediate past president of the local Boy Scouts.