"What you are doing is something you are not required to do, something we should not take for granted, and something that requires a lot of time, energy and love for children," Bishop Finn told the honorees and scores of their friends and fellow Scouters at a prayer service at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.
Five adult Scouters earned the St. George Medal, the highest honor awarded by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting. That award recognizes the work adult leaders offer for the spiritual development of Catholic youth in the Boy Scouts of America. Karen Stone, of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Kansas City. In addition to serving on Troop 631's religious emblems program, Stone produces The Piercing Arrow newsletter, sent to more than 400 adult Scout leaders in the diocese. She also helped incorporate a Cub Scout program into the annual Catholic Scout retreat and serves the diocesan committee as activities chair.
Ten adult leaders received the Bronze Pelican Award, a diocesan honor for outstanding service to Boy Scout or Camp Fire USA programs.
Richard W. "Whitey" Koogler received the Bronze Pelican posthumously. He served for decades as sacristan for Masses at scout camps and as religious emblems counselor at Christ the King Parish's Troop 30.
Others receiving the Bronze Pelican were Susan Ambrose of St. Sabina Parish, Belton; Darryl Bell Sr. of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Kansas City; Father William Caldwell, pastor of St. Ann Parish, Excelsior Springs; Timothy Freeland of Nativity of Mary Parish, Independence; Ed Harris of Coronation of Our Lady Parish, Grandview; Joseph LaScala of Christ the King Parish, Kansas City; Terry Miller of St. Ann Parish, Plattsburg; Patrick Rittel of St. Mary Parish, Independence; and J.C. Smith of Holy Rosary Parish, Clinton.
Three leaders received the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award for service to Girl Scouts and Camp Fire. They are: Diana Nolan of St. James Parish, Liberty; Joan Pederson of St. James Parish, Liberty; and Kathy Sommerkamp of Sacred Heart Parish, Warrensburg.
Four adult leaders received the St. John Baptist de la Salle Award, a diocesan award to previous recipients of the St. George Award who have given decades of service to Scouting programs.
They are: Deacon Kenneth Albers of St. John Francis Regis Parish, Kansas City; Robert Nelson of St. Rafael Parish, Kansas City; Father Joseph Powers, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Raytown; and John Ryan of St. Mary Parish, Independence.
In his homily during the prayer service, Bishop Finn reminded the leaders that they are involved "in nothing less than the formation of our young people."
"The first responsibility for the education and formation of young people is with the parents," he said.
"We know that in the history of Scouting is that there is a strong set of character values," the bishop said. "These are what we would call the natural or human virtues. We have an opportunity to add to this vision and sense of virtues the living reality of that which is spiritual."
By grounding virtues in faith, Scouting reinforces parents in teaching that "we are all children of God. We are all brothers and sisters of our Lord, Jesus Christ himself," the bishop said.
"We have a spiritual soul and an eternal destiny," Bishop Finn said. "By the witness of your life and the service you render, you give your charges a depth and a meaning to this life that is given to us by almighty God."
Bishop Finn offered "thanks, and a prayer that our Lord will reward you fully for what you do."