AUGUSTA — Three religious emblems were presented by the Portland Diocese’s Catholic Committee on Scouting during the Sunday Mass on Nov. 26, at St. Augustine Church. This included the St. George Award, which went to the Rev. Nathan March, an Eagle Scout as well as pastor of St. Michael Parish.
Nationally, there are 97,651 Scouts who follow the Roman Catholic faith and 39,535 Catholics who serve as Scouting leaders, according to a news release from Chuck Mahaleris, district chairman for the Kennebec Valley District of Scouting.
Scott Valcourt of Gray, the chair of the Catholic Committee on Scouting, attended the 10:30 a.m. Mass where the awards were presented.
“This is the first time that I am aware of where a father and son were both receiving awards on the same day,” said Valcourt from the lectern.
Christopher M. Santiago is a member of the Knights of Columbus and a leader in Vassalboro Pack and Troop 410. He serves on the Kennebec Valley District Scouting Committee and is a member of the Duty to God Committee. He received the Bronze Pelican Award. The Bronze Pelican Emblem is a Diocesan recognition presented to any adult who has made a significant contribution to Scouting in the field of Catholic relationships by encouraging the spiritual development of youth members.
His son, also Christopher N. Santiago, completed all requirements for the Parvuli Dei medal. The purpose of the Parvuli Dei (Children of God) emblem program is to help Cub Scouts explore a wide range of activities in order to discover the presence of God in their daily lives as members of their families and parishes, and also to develop a good, positive self-image through the contributions they can make to their family, pack and community.
The St. George Emblem is presented to members of the laity and clergy, Scouters and non-Scouters alike, who have made significant and outstanding contributions to the spiritual development of Catholic youth in Scouting.
“St. George is the patron Saint of Scouting,” said Valcourt, who highlighted the Scouting history of March, who was a youth Scout, worked at Camp Hinds, and earned his Eagle Scout rank. “He has presided over many religious services at Scout functions and has worked with many Scouts to assist them to earn their religious emblems.”
March praised the Scouting program and reminded the congregation of the words of Robert Baden Powell, the founder of Scouting, “Try and leave this world a little better than you found it, and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate, you have not wasted your time but have done your best.”