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At Scouting Mass, Bishop Burbidge tells youths, 'Be who you are'

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During his homily at the 35th annual Scouting Mass, Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge asked the Scouts to remember that they are children of God. “You live in a world that tries to define you,” often by things that pass away, he said. “What never changes is who you really are. You are God’s sons and daughters.”

Parents and Scouts from around 25 troops and packs in the diocese gathered at the Cathedral of St Thomas More in Arlington Feb. 4 to celebrate Catholic Scouting. The bishop was joined by Father Augustine M. Tran, Scouting chaplain for the Arlington Diocese, and Msgr. John B. Brady, regional chaplain of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting

Quoting St. Francis de Sales, Bishop Burbidge told the youths to, “Be who you are and be that well.” 

He asked them to stay true to their Catholic faith, in spite of difficulties or isolation from peers. “We need your faithful witness,” the bishop said. “Our country needs to see that our young people are faithful to God's commands.” Fidelity to God is possible, but only with help from the Lord, he said. 

Bishop Burbidge congratulated the Scouts for their dutiful service to others and said a blessing over their medals. After Mass, he greeted and took pictures with many in the church’s basement, Burke Hall. 

Each Scout there had a different reason for joining and continuing Scouting. Cub Scout Alex Fukuda from St. Thomas More likes camping. Jasmine Novello, a Girl Scout Cadet from St. Thomas More, likes hanging out with her friends and participating in the activities they do, such as making dog toys for an animal shelter. 

Jeffry Yancoskie, a senior at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington and a Boy Scout at Sacred Heart Church in Manassas, enjoys the adventures he has in Boy Scouts. He visited Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and later this year will visit Sea Base, a Scouting adventure program in the Florida Keys, to sail around the Bahamas. 

Yancoskie was among dozens of diocesan Scouts who received a religious emblem this year. He earned the Pope Pius XII emblem, which educates Scouts about the vocational choices and occupations in the church. “It helped (bring) me closer to the Catholic church,” he said. 

Echoing the bishop’s words, Yancoskie said he believes that Scouting allows young people to find who they are. “It really does help you out, not just for colleges and stuff like that, but it helps you build your character and who you are as a person.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017