Military Catholics Well-Represented at National Jamboree of Boy Scouts of America Scouts travel across U.S. and from Europe and Asia to attend West Va. Event; Msgr. John J.M. Foster and Bishop F. Richard Spencer concelebrate outdoor Mass

Auxiliary Bishop F. Richard Spencer speaks during Mass at Boy Scouts of America’s National Jamboree on July 21, 2017, in Mount Hope, W. Va., as Msgr. John J.M. Foster and a Jamboree chaplain, Father Steven M. Arisman, listen.

MOUNT HOPE, W. Va. – The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), is well represented at the Boy Scouts of America’s National Jamboree now underway in Mount Hope, W. Va. Scouts from Catholic U.S. Military families based throughout the United States and as far away as Europe and Asia are participating in the July 19-28 Jamboree at the 14,000-acre Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve.

On Sunday, July 23, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia Monsignor John J.M. Foster, J.C.D., and Auxiliary BishopF. Richard Spencer, Episcopal Vicar for Europe and Asia, concelebrated an outdoor Mass for the scouts. The Holy See’s apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, was the principal celebrant, and more than a dozen other priests concelebrated. Both Msgr. Foster and Bishop Spencer are Eagle Scouts.

Upon arrival for their Sunday visit, Msgr. Foster and Bishop Spencer had little difficulty finding the military Catholics among the more than 30,000 scouts, volunteers, staffers, and visitors gathered for the National Jamboree. “We were able to locate and meet with our AMS military Scouts from Germany, Japan and Korea,” Bishop Spencer said. “It was an awesome experience for evangelization and vocational encouragement.  Out of the thirty-thousand or so scouts attending, 8,730 of those registered are identified as ‘Catholic.’”

As part of the ten-day Jamboree experience, scouts are participating in more than 200 service projects to benefit 45 of West Virginia’s 55 counties. The projects range from restoring and preserving historical sites and flood remediation to creating art murals and even installing a butterfly garden. The National Catholic Committee on Scouting is also providing Jamboree-goers with ample opportunity to explore their faith and encounter fellow believers.

“The National Catholic Committee on Scouting welcomed hundreds of Scouts in the Worship tent at the Jamboree,” AMS Vice-Chancellor for Evangelization, Dr. Mark Moitoza, explained. “Their exhibit space invited young men and women to make rosaries, creating natural opportunities for adult leaders and youth to get to know one another, to offer encouragement, and to pray together. These adult mentors exhibited a model of missionary discipleship that points toward the gift of comprehensive Catholic Youth Ministry well implemented and shared with, by, and for young leaders.”

Monsignor Foster added that “it was a time of grace to meet many of the young people and their adult leaders who visited the NCCS exhibit. I was inspired by their desire to explore their Catholic faith and to engage in dialogue.”

The AMS Office of Youth Ministry actively promotes scouting for Catholic boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18. Religious scouting emblems and medals may be orderedfrom the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. The point of contact for religious emblems is Aislinn Sheehan (asheehan@milarch.org; 202-719-3654). Shipping and handling charges will be added to the total cost of the order (prices are listed on the order form). Please allow 4-6 weeks for shipping.