A Brief Chronicle of
US Catholic ScoutingClick here for Home

   The below chronology is a work in progress. The information on this page is based on the research completed when this was written. Subsequent research might bring to light new facts which might require corrections, as such, some of the information may be incomplete, missing, and even inaccurate. Thus the material is still subject to further review.

1904 - Baden-Powell published an early version of his scheme for training boys (Knights/Retainers).

1907 - Baden-Powell held an experimental camp at Brownsea Island from July 29th to August 9th with 20 boys.

1908 - Baden-Powell published his Scouting for Boys. *While planning his scheme, BP received assistance from Cardinal Bourne and the Benedictine Fathers at Downside Abbey in England.

1909 - The first Boy Scout Rally was held at the Crystal Palace in Great Britain. At this meeting of Scout Masters, many of the basic policies were formed to guide Boy Scouting in England.

1910 - The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated. *The first known Catholic Scout Troop was formed by St. Mark's Church of St. Paul, MN.

1912 - Brother Barnabas and Victor F. Ridder, with the cooperation of James West, received the approval of John Cardinal Farley, of the Archdiocese of New York, for Boy Scouting. A Scout Troop was chartered by St. Patrick's Cathedral Parish in New York under the specific guidelines established by the Cardinal.

1913 - Victor Ridder was appointed the "National Scout Commissioner for Scout Work in the Catholic Churches", by the BSA. His position was to promote Catholic units.

1914 - The BSA created the "Catholic Bureau" for the extension of Scout work among Catholic churches.

1916 - The US Congress granted the BSA a Federal Charter.

1917 - The Bishops of the United States formed the National Catholic War Council (NCWC). The War Council's Committee on Men's Activities undertook the responsibility for promoting Scouting under Catholic auspices across the country.

1918 - The NCWC authorized the BSA to form a Catholic Bureau, BSA, to create and direct the activities of Catholic Troops. T

1919 - The NCWC published the Scouting under Catholic Leadership pamphlet to assist in organizing Troops. *Rev John F. White was hired to be the Education Director, Catholic Bureau, BSA. *As a result of the work of the NCWC with Catholic Troops, the BSA adopted a systematic method for developing cooperation with churches.

1920 - The National Council of Catholic Men (NCCM), which was formed with the dissolution of the War Council in December, undertook the task to encourage the formation of Troops under Catholic auspices. Many State Knights of Columbus (KC) Conventions endorsed Scouting.

1921 - Notre Dame University, at the request of the NCCM, conducted a 2 week training course for Scoutmasters.

1922 - Brother Barnabas and Victor Ridder organized a Catholic Committee on Scouting under the Honorary Chairmanship of Patrick Cardinal Hayes, of the Archdiocese of New York. Bishop Joseph H. Conroy of Ogdensburg was named the Chairman of this Committee; the Rev Matthew J. Walsh, president of Notre Dame University, named as national counselor (Chaplain); Victor Ridder and Daniel A. Tobein were named as vice-presidents. *The National KC Convention adopted Scouting as their official youth program for boys 12-15 years of age.

1923 - Under the guidance of Brother Barnabas, the KC's established a special "Boy Life Bureau". Brother Barnabas was appointed the bureau's first Executive Secretary. *"1,000 US Boy Scouts assembled in the great Hall of Beatification at the Vatican to attend Mass celebrated by His Holiness, [Pope] Pius XI, and to listen to his stirring address." *The BSA established the Bureau of Church Relations, under the Department of Education, to further the promotion of Scouting in the Churches.

1925 - Brother Barnabas was selected the Director of the Scout extension under Catholic leadership to replace Fr. White who was unable to continue in this capacity.

1928 - The Catholic Committee published a Manual, Scouting for Catholics, which included suggestions for organizing troops under Catholic leadership and a very clear statement of BSA policies. *While Cardinal Mudelein of Chicago had "explored the possibility of Scouting for his 'street kiddies,'" it was not until his newly consecrated auxiliary, Bishop Bernard J. Sheil took the reins, that Catholic Scouting flourished in Chicago.

1929 - Brother Barnabas passed away in New Mexico on April 24th.

1930 - 125 Catholic units were organized through a joint program of Boy Scout Troops and Junior Holy Name Societies in the Archdiocese of Chicago. A field director was employed to carry on this work.

1932 - On September 22nd, Bishop Kelley of Oklahoma City-Tulsa succeeded Bishop Conroy as Chairman of the Catholic Committee. Under his leadership the Catholic Committee expanded to include 22 Archbishops and Bishops, one from each Ecclesiastical Province in the United States.

1933 - The Catholic Committee on Scouting was reorganized into the Bishops Catholic Committee on Scouting (basically, the NCCS). The NCCS consisted of a Bishop's Committee, a Priest's Committee and a Laymen's Committee. *Under the leadership of Bishop Kelley, the American hierarchy approved a "Plan of Cooperation" whereby Scouting recognized the church's interest in the spiritual welfare of Catholic youth, and the Scouting program was recognized as an approved youth program in the Church.

1934 - BSA employed Kenneth Cook to give help in the local council participation in the diocesan scout programs. *The first annual conference of diocesan Scout Chaplains was held at Mortimer L. Schiff Scout Reservation, November 6-9.

1935 - The Bishops' Committee, at their annual meeting held at Catholic University, approved the idea of a Scout patron, but left the choice of the patron to the discretion of the diocesan units. The Chaplain's Conference had recommended St. John Bosco as a national patron. The bishops also decided that "It is not the responsibility of the BSA to force parents into having their boys in troops of their own faith. The BSA, however, should cooperate with pastors and parents in securing enrollment of Catholic Boys in troops under Catholic leadership." The bishops approved that the lay committee should hold their meeting at the same time of the BSA annual meeting.

1936 - At the Bishop's Committee annual meeting, they approved a special investiture ceremony for Catholic scouts and troops. The committee also authorized the development of a Catholic Scout prayer book and manual of Scouting for Catholics.

1937 - The 1st BSA National Jamboree was held in Washington, DC. During the Jamboree, the Most Reverend Rummel of the Archdiocese of New Orleans with the Most Reverend Beckman, of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, celebrated Mass at the foot of the Washington Monument. An estimated 10,000 Scouts and Scouters attended the Mass. Archbishop Rummel read a letter from Pope Pius XI giving his blessing to those present. *The Chaplain's Bulletin was first issued as a quarterly newsletter to diocesan chaplains.

1938 - At the Bishops' annual meeting, they accepted the recommendation of the NCWC to "extend the scope of the Catholic Committee on Scouting to include the episcopal supervision over all Catholic youth work in the United States."

1939 - At the annual Bishops' Committee meeting, approval was given to the Ad Altare Dei (AAD) award "in principle and appointed a subcommittee to develop a suitable emblem." *The BSA Committee on Badges, Awards, Scout Requirements and Uniform Design authorized Scouts of Catholic faith to wear the AAD Cross on the scout uniform. *The Chaplains voted to have a joint session with the National Conference of the Catholic Youth Organization directors in 1940.

1940 - As a result of the astounding success in Catholic Scouting and the elevation of the NCCM Youth Bureau to a NCWC Department (the NCWC Youth Department), the end of the NCCS's Bishop's Committee was in sight. *The NCCS published a pamphlet entitled Catholic Investiture for Cub Scouts. *The Bishops approved the requirements for the AAD and a formal grace at Scout camps.

1941 - Bishop Kelley was succeeded as Episcopal Moderator by the Most Rev Richard O. Gerow, Bishop of Natchez.

1942 -The NCCS presented a jewel-studded AAD medal to Bishop Kelley for his work and informally dubbed him the "Eagle Scout of the hierarchy."

1947 - Msgr. Moore was succeeded as National Director of the NCCS by the Rev Robert Brown of the Archdiocese of New York. *Pius XII gave a private audience to a group of Scouts/Scouters lead by Fr. Brown.

1948 - The National Catholic Committee on Laymen is formed. The committee members are the same as the Catholic Service Committee, BSA.

1949 - Fr. Brown was succeeded as National Director by the Rev Msgr. George M Dowd of the Archdiocese of Boston.

1950 - "A Troop of Scouts and leaders from 14 States [made] a pilgrimage to Rome during the 1950 Holy Year Jubilee. They were received in a Private Audience by Pope Pius XII" at Castle Gondolfo. They were led by A.A. Kirk. *Thirty-seven priests served as chaplains at the National Jamboree held at Valley Forge. * The Archdiocese of New York developed the Bronze Pelican Award for Catholic adults involved in Scouting.

1951 - Pius XII received a delegation of 450 US Scouts/Scouters on their way to the 7th World Jamboree.

1952 - A.A. Kirk was named as Director of Catholic Services in BSA's Relationships Division, and thus succeeded Kenneth Cook as NCCS Executive Secretary.

1953 - The first pontifical field mass presided by a Cardinal was said at the 3rd National Jamboree by Francis Cardinal McIntyre for 12,000 Scouts and Scouters. Forty-three priests served as jamboree chaplains.

1954 - The Laymen's Committee was expanded to include 10 regions from 6 regions, in response to the BSA' regional restructuring. *At the 13th National Conference, a plan for training Catholic lay leaders in the ideals of Scouting was developed. This was a discussion program called "Catholic Ideals in Scouting." *The St. George Award was approved for Catholic Laymen.

1956 - The NCCS adopted a religious emblem for Cub Scouts called "Parvuli Dei."

1957 - The NCCS provided chaplaincy service at the 4th National Jamboree, and at both Schiff and Philmont Scout Reservations. In addition, two new Catholic chapels were built at Philmont.

1958 - The NCCS built and dedicated the chapel and chaplain's residence at Philmont Scout Ranch. The St. George Chapel was dedicated by the Most Rev Edwin V. Byrne, Archbishop of Sante Fe.

1959 - Msgr. Dowd was succeeded as NCCS National Director by the Rev Msgr. Joseph Schieder. *The 100,000th AAD was presented. *The NCCS presented a course for laymen at the Philmont Training Center.

1960 - At the 16th Biennial Conference in Milwaukee, the Scouter Development program was initiated. *At the 5th BSA National Jamboree in Colorado Springs, 45 priests served as Catholic chaplains. Jamboree chaplains reported that at least 1,000 boys attended daily Mass. On Sunday, July 24, a Pontifical Field Mass was celebrated by the Apostolic Delegate. Other celebrants included eight Archbishops and Bishops and the 45 Jamboree chaplains. There were over 12,000 Catholic Scouts and leaders present to receive the Apostolic Benediction. *In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the BSA, Pope John XXIII sent a letter to Bishop Gerow blessing Catholic Scouting and the BSA.

1961 - The NCCS provided 3 full-time and 1 part-time chaplain at Philmont. Two new chapels were built at Ponil and Cimmarron Cito camps. *The NCCS approved a religious emblem program for Explorers called the "Pope Pius XII Award." *The "most significant step taken by the National Catholic Laymen's Committee during 1961 was the definitizing of the Catholic Scouter Development Plan - a method of orienting all lay leaders in integrating the spiritual."

1962 - The Most Rev William G. Connare, DD, Bishop of Greensburg, became the NCCS Episcopal Moderator, succeeding Bishop Gerow.

1963 - "In recognition of their sponsorship of more than 1,000 Scouting units the Supreme Council, Knights of Columbus, was presented with a bronze plaque by the NCCS." *Victor Ridder passed away.

1964 - The NCCS restructured to include a chaplain and a lay representative from each diocese which had adopted the "Plan of Cooperation". * A Pontifical Low Mass was celebrated by the Most Rev John P. Cody, apostolic administrator of New Orleans and chairman of the Youth Department, NCWC, at the 6th National BSA Jamboree held at Valley Forge. Over 10,000 Scouts and leaders attended the mass, which was concelebrated by Bishop Connare and 30 other priests.

1965 - The first edition of the Scouter Development handbook was offered, and by the end of the year more than 3,300 copies were distributed.

1966 - A.A. Kirk retired as Director of Catholic Services, and succeeded by William H. Condon.

1967 - At the XII World Jamboree, held in Farragut Stare Park, Idaho, a Pontifical Low Mass for some 4,000 Scouts from 26 countries was celebrated by the Most Rev Robert J. Dwyer, Archbishop of Portland, Oregon. He was assisted by Archbishop Philip Hannan, Bishop Sylvester Treinen, 12 American priests, and 50 priests from other countries. A total of 11 Bishops participated in the Jamboree. *A new Catholic chapel , which was a gift of James Griffin, chairman of the Lay Committee, was dedicated at Beaubien Camp in Philmont. *The NCCS logo was updated with the universal Scout (BSA) badge, instead of the BSA First Class Badge.

1968 - The "Plan of Cooperation" was revised, updated, and approved by the USCC. An Executive Board was provided for, to be made up of priests and laymen from each region, elected from the dioceses. The Plan was put into effect at the 20th Biennial Conference and under the revised Plan, a layman was elected as National Chairman.

1969 - In June, Josef P Kessler became BSA Director of Catholic Services, succeeding William Condon, and also became Executive Secretary of the NCCS. *10,000 Scouts and leaders participated in a special mass held during the 7th BSA National Jamboree at Farragut State Park. The Most Rev Sylvester Treine, Bishop of Boise celebrated the mass. He was joined by Bishops Connare and Bernard Topel, of Spokane.

1970 - At its 21st Biennial Conference, the NCCS voted to include youth consultants as members. The first two selected were Stephen E. Littlejohn of Dover, DE, and George R. Cooper of Las Cruces, NM. *Bishop Connare retired as Episcopal Moderator and was succeeded by the Most Rev Michael F . McAuliffe, Bishop of Jefferson City.

1971 - On behalf of Pope Paul VI, Msgr. Leonard presented to Alden Barber, BSA Chief Scout Executive, a Silver Pontifical Medal, mounted in clear plastic with bronze plates attached, commemorating the 8th year of his pontificate. This personal momento from Pope Paul VI was placed on permanent display at the BSA Johnston Historical Museum.

1972 - At the 22nd Biennial Conference in New Orleans, the Pope Paul VI Unit Recognition program was approved.

1973 - The Pope Paul VI Unit Recognition awards were presented in Minneapolis during the meeting of the National Council, BSA. *The Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus provided a grant of $50,000 to the NCCS to underwrite a training program for adult Catholic Scouters for a five-year period. *BSA held the 8th National Jamboree in two separate sites; West - Moraine State Park in Pennsylvania; and, East - Farragut State Park in Idaho. Forty-seven priests were chaplains at both sites. At Jamboree East, Terence Cardinal Cooke of New York celebrated Sunday Mass for more than 15,000 Scouts and leaders. He was assisted by Bishops Connare, Leonard, Hodges and Michaels, along with 30 priests. The Sunday Mass at Jamboree West was celebrated by John Cardinal Cody of Chicago for more than 8,000 Scouts and leaders. He was assisted by Bishops McAuliffe, Remi DeRoo, Treinen, Powers, Newell, Federal and Schuster, along with 21 priests.

1974 - The 1st NCCS Philmont Conference was held with fifteen priests and forty-nine Scouters participated in the program. *Tom Hawkins, during an audience with Pope Paul VI, presented the Pontiff with the St. George Emblem and a plaque containing the Catholic religious emblems. On behalf of the BSA, he presented the BSA World Silver Award. *Msgr James E. Dolan, creator of the Ad Altare Dei emblem died in October.

1976 - Some 260 Scouts and Explorers formed the NCCS's Eucharistic Congress Scout Service Corps in Philadelphia, PA. They served as ushers for the major liturgical events and assisted the hundreds of priest in the distribution of Holy Communion. In addition, they assisted in the security for Mother Theresa and President Ford, marched in the opening parade, but for the most part, they assisted in the countless of behind the scenes work required. During the Congress, a special Scout Day was observed by the celebration of Mass for some 5,000 Scouts and leaders. The Mass was celebrated by Bishops McAuliffe and Daly, from Derry Ireland, and joined by 70 chaplains from across the country.

1977 - The "Plan of Cooperation and Organization" was revised and updated.

1978 - The 5th NCCS Philmont Conference was held for 9 priests, 54 Scouts, and 2 NCCS Youth Representatives. The KC's voted to continue underwriting the Conference for the next three years at an estimated cost of $54,840. During the last five years, some 330 adults had participated in the conference. *Bishop Joseph P Hart of Cheyenne succeeded Bishop McAuliffe as NCCS Episcopal moderator.

1980 - At the 26th Biennial Conference, approval was given for establishing a religious emblem for those Boy Scouts who are members of the various Eastern Catholic Churches. The program was called "Light is Life". *Funding was made available to the BSA, through the NCCS, to develop a Hispanic Outreach program. The funding of this program lasted nine years and provided a total of $450,000 to the BSA for its implementation.

1982 - Bishop Michael Kenney of Juneau replaced Bishop Hart as NCCS Episcopal Moderator.

1986 - During the years 1986 and 1987, the NCCS in cooperation with the BSA, conducted an Emphasis Campaign. The purpose of the Emphasis program was to increase the number of youth involved in Catholic Scouting and to strengthen existing units. At the conclusion of the program, membership was increased by some 10%. *Roberto Gonzales was named associate national director of Catholic Relationships and national director of Hispanic Relationships for the BSA. *Josef Kessler announced his retirement from the BSA at the 29th Biennial Conference in Kansas City, effective December 31, 1986. Joe Kessler had served the NCCS as Executive Secretary for a total of 17 years, one of the longest tenure of an NCCS Executive Secretary. He was succeeded by Dann R. Cooke, as both BSA Director of Catholic Relations and NCCS Executive Secretary.

1988 - Ben Love, Chief Scout of the BSA, presented to Pope John Paul II Scouting's Distinguished Citizen of the World commendation for "extraordinary service in behalf of world peace and brotherhood." *Bishop George Fitzsimmons replaced Bishop Kenney as NCCS Episcopal Moderator.

1989 - At the 12th BSA National Jamboree, a special Jamboree Mass was celebrated on August 6, 1989. The celebrant was the Most Rev Pio Laghi, Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to the United States, other celebrants included, Bishops Fitzsimmons, David Forley, Walter Sullivan, Bernard Schmitt, Leonard Oliver, and thirty -six jamboree chaplains. During the Mass, the NCCS presented the St. George Emblem to Pope John Paul II. The Pro-Nuncio accepted the Emblem on behalf of the pope. The mass was attended by more than 6 ,000 Scouts and Scouters. At the Jamboree, a survey conducted of the Jamboree Scouts indicated that some 24% were Catholic.

1990 - The NCCS revised the "Plan of Cooperation". This was necessitated because of some organizational changes that occurred between the NCCB and the USCC. *The NCCS reorganized its regional structure to coincide with the NCCB's 14 episcopal regions. This was the first time that the NCCS had abandoned the BSA regional structure. *During the Summer, Dann Cooke was promoted to an Area Scout Executive and was succeeded by Guy Eichsteadt as BSA's Director of Catholic Relations and NCCS Executive Secretary. *At the conclusion of the 9 years of NCCS funding, BSA considered the Hispanic Outreach program such a success they decided to include it as a part of their national programs. To this end, the Kellogg Foundation provided a grant of $1,560,000, for the next three years, to expand the program.

1992 - At the 32nd Biennial Meeting in Nashville, a new Religious Emblem program was approved for Tiger and Wolf Cub Scouts. The name of the new program was "Light of Christ". *At the BSA National Council Meeting in Cincinnati, the BSA announced several major administrative changes. These changes included: a reduction of the number of BSA regions, from six to four; a commitment to consolidate smaller councils; and a major restructuring of the BSA Relationship Division. For the NCCS, the restructuring of the Relationships Division was the most significant. It primarily consisted of a reduction in the number of BSA employees in that division. As of June 30th, the NCCS Executive Secretary and BSA Director of Catholic Relations, Guy Eichsteadt, was replaced. The BSA informed the NCCS that his replacement would be Dave Worley. This was the first time the BSA had not worked in consultation with the NCCS in the selection of the BSA Director of Catholic Relations. It was also the first time the BSA director of Catholic Relations would not be a Catholic. Mr. Worley was therefore unable to assume the position of NCCS Executive Secretary. *The NCCS conducted a Catholic Youth Leadership Trek for 63 Scouts at Philmont Scout Ranch. Nine priests and seven seminarians served as adult advisors to the crews.


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