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JAMBOREE-MASS Jul-23-2013 (780 words) With photos. xxxn

Jamboree Mass ties Scouts' Catholic faith, commitment to serve others

By Tim Bishop
Catholic News Service

MOUNT HOPE, W.Va. (CNS) -- Nearly 10,000 Boy Scouts from throughout the United States braved heavy rain and thunderstorms July 21 for an outdoor Mass celebrated by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The Mass was part of the 10-day National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Mount Hope. Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston concelebrated the Mass and served as homilist.

In his homily, Bishop Bransfield welcomed the Scouts to the Mountain State for the national jamboree marking its significance to the church. "It is a pleasure," he said, "to welcome you and Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano to our state. You now can see firsthand why it is called wild and wonderful."

Bishop Bransfield acknowledged the hard work of the many people it took to make the national jamboree a reality for West Virginia.

"For many months," he said, "a great deal of planning and labor has gone into preparing for this jamboree. When I visited here earlier this year, in the middle of winter, I was impressed with the beauty of the place and I wondered if it would be ready for you by summer.

"As I look out now, I see a transformed place, made all the more wonderful by your presence and your enjoyment of all that nature has to offer you. It is especially good to be with you as we gather around the altar, led in prayer by our apostolic nuncio, and take part in Lord's eucharistic sacrifice."

Bishop Bransfield told the Scouts that their Catholic faith and participation in the Eucharist bind them together with the entire church throughout the world. He reminded them that their active participation in Scouting, in parishes across the country, flows from and is directed by their Catholic faith.

"The oath you take as Scouts," he said, "explicitly mentions God: The promise you make echoes the promises at baptism and repeated at confirmation, as you pledge to do your best to do my duty to God and to keep yourselves, in his sight, morally straight.

"Likewise, the 12th point of the Scout law invites you to be 'reverent,'" he continued, "and as we gather this Sunday morning to celebrate our faith in this Mass, you fulfill your Scout promise and keep your Scout law in a wonderful way. I thank you for the choice you have made to be involved in Scouting and to actively celebrate your Catholic faith as people committed to reverence of God and service of others."

The first duty of people of faith, Bishop Bransfield said, is to listen to God and, like the Gospel for the day teaches, put things in their proper order.

"Each of you Scouts knows how essential it is to perform the steps of a task in their proper order," he said. "If you don't, a sturdy tent cannot be erected, a bow cannot be strung and its arrow shot, a boat cannot be properly steered."

He commended the Massgoers "for putting things in their proper order: for coming here this morning to do your duty toward God-for gathering to listen to the words of Christ and receive the nourishment of his body and blood."

Christ's word and his sacrifice "will sustain you in all things and will provide you with great encouragement as you go forth from here to be physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight and to help others at all times."

Bishop Bransfield said he prayed the Scouts "will continue to enjoy this jamboree and that, during the many activities and adventures ahead, you will continue to listen for the Lord God and experience His presence in the wonder of nature around you, in the goodness of the people you are with, and in the joy that you experience throughout these days."

About 40,000 Scouts were expected for the July 15-24 National Boy Scout Jamboree. During the event, Scouts participated in adventures, including more than five miles of zip-line courses, 36 miles of mountain bike trails and 13 acres of shooting sports, as well as kayaking, rock climbing, bouldering, skateboarding and various other activities. They also spent time learning new skills and meeting fellow Scouts from around the country in a beautiful, outdoor setting.

Since 1937, the Scouts have gathered every couple of years for what has become the Boy Scouts of America's most iconic event.

Chosen by the Boy Scouts in 2009, the 10,600-acre Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve is now the permanent home for the Scouts' jamboree and, in 2019, will host the World Scout Jamboree. Before this year's jamboree, the event had been held at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia since 1981.

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Bishop is assistant editor of The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va.


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