Monsignor Fran Cilia, vicar general of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose, led a Prayer Service and Catholic Religious Recognition Ceremony March 18 honoring hundreds of assembled participants in area scouting programs: Cub-Webelos Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts, Girl Scouts and Camp Fire. Eight Gilroy girls were among those honored at St. Joseph Cathedral Basilica in San Jose.
To encourage girls to grow stronger in their faith, Girl Scouts USA has religious awards in more than 25 different faiths and allows recognition insignia to be worn on official uniforms. However, each religious organization develops and administers its own program.
Catholic Scouting requires girls to complete an age-level workbook and related activities, independently of their troop. The Girl Scout levels are coordinated with Catholic Scouting, and include “Family of God” for Brownies, who are 7 to 9 years old; “I Live My Faith,” for Juniors, ages 9 to 11; “Mary, the First Disciple,” (also known as the “Marian Medal”) for Cadettes, ages 12-18; and “Spirit Alive,” also for Cadettes.
“Catholic Scouting is an important youth ministry in the Diocese of San Jose,” Monsignor Cilia said. “Completion of the program helps these young girls mature in religious and spiritual formation. The rewards will last a lifetime.”
“Girl Scouts recognizes the religious diversity that exists within our communities.” said Leeanna Hammer, a leader for Troops 60493 and 61123 and coordinator of the Girl Scout’s religious programs in Gilroy. “Many times girls in the same troop represent a wide variety of faiths. Troop leaders help girls develop respect and appreciation for each other’s individual beliefs. Earning this award is a real achievement.”
Brownies Isabella Beninger and Franchescha Rose Morales explored a wide range of family and parish activities in order to discover the presence of God in their daily lives.
Juniors Kaitlyn Carvalho, Madison Hammer, Emily Harkins, Amanda Miller and Burgundy Corazon Troncoso focused on developing awareness of their own growth as a person, friend, family member, citizen and believer in the community of faith.
Cadette Gabrielle Miller studied the Virgin Mary to help her gain an understanding of the first disciple as model of openness and spirituality. Through Miller’s projects, discussion and liturgical celebrations, she developed a Christian spirit of hope and faith.
GSUSA, the national Girl Scout organization, is the largest voluntary organization of girls in the world. In the United States there are more than 2.3 million juveniles and 890,000 adult members. The group is marking the centennial of its founding this year.
The Gilroy Girl Scouts Service Unit 604 serves nearly 300 girls at all levels: Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette and Seniors Troops.
Chuck Flagg is a retired teacher with a passion for religion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.