By Dan McWilliams
Diocesan youth and adult Scouts came together March 4 for the annual Bishop’s Breakfast for Scouting at the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The day began with an 8:05 a.m. Mass in the cathedral before the meal in the Cathedral Hall. At the end of breakfast, adult recognition awards were presented.
Bishop Richard F. Stika opened the liturgy with a message about the day’s focus.
“Today we celebrate the Scouts—young Scouts and not-so-young Scouts,” he said.
In his homily, the bishop said that “in this day and age, I think young adults in this society need some direction.”
“I often think about people who live in the inner city—they never have the capacity to see the beauty of God’s creation: lakes and streams and camping at night. My idea now of camping is Holiday Inn Express. All of those are open to Scouts and what they can accomplish,” he added.
Scouting is something that “more and more people should look at,” Bishop Stika said. “The Scouts build character, build the body, and build spirituality with all of the different awards.”
At the end of Mass, the bishop recognized Troop 146 Scouts Luke Gensheimer, Jacob Turnmire, and Jax Turnmire, who received the Ad Altare Dei religious-emblem award.
“Isn’t it after all the job, the vocation, the purpose of an adult—to help the generations that follow us to experience the beauty of God’s creation and life itself?” the bishop said. “So, to the Scouts, I say thank you. Let’s pray for them and let us pray for each other.”
Martin Vargas of the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting and Bishop Stika presented the St. George Emblem to six adults at the breakfast: John and Michelle Gensheimer, John Sheridan, Nathan Cunningham, and Wes Stowers, all of whom are cathedral parishioners, and to Robert Moneymaker of Holy Ghost Parish in Knoxville.
“The St. George Emblem is presented to laity, clergy, Scouts, and non-Scouters alike who have made significant and outstanding contributions to the spiritual development of Catholic youth in Scouting,” Mr. Vargas said. “That’s what the people we are recognizing today have helped our youth learn and have demonstrated throughout their careers.”
Mr. Stowers and Mr. Sheridan are both Eagle Scouts and former presidents of the Great Smoky Mountains Council of the Boy Scouts. Mr. Moneymaker is a member of the Order of the Arrow and an adult Scouter of 20-plus years. Mrs. Gensheimer has been involved in Scouting for 27 years, including her time as a Girl Scout. She has served as a parent volunteer for Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts for many years. Mr. Gensheimer has 21 years of experience in Scouting, including six years as a youth. Mr. Cunningham has been a Scouter for 17 years and is a member of the Order of the Arrow.
Mr. Sheridan “has origins in St. Louis,” Bishop Stika said, referring to his own hometown.
“Are you a Cardinal fan?” the bishop asked Mr. Sheridan. “Yes, of course,” came the reply. “Smart man,” the bishop said.
The adult Scouting awards are presented annually. To nominate a deserving adult volunteer, contact diocesan Scouting committee chairman Chris Manning at firstname.lastname@example.org.