Scouting and Catholic Youth Ministry
Ministering to young people is a vital aspect of the Catholic Church’s life and mission. In their pastoral framework on youth ministry, the U.S. Bishops state: “Ministry with adolescents (is) a concern for the entire church community, especially for leaders in parishes, schools, and dioceses."
The Church endeavors to minister to young people in a variety of ways, among which are: Catholic education and religious formation, youth ministry, and scouting programs for young men and women across the United States. All of these are excellent opportunities for the Church to pass on the Gospel of Jesus Christ to children and youth through her life and rich tradition of faith, morals, leadership development, pastoral care, prayer and worship, and service. Over the years, the Catholic youth ministry community and scouting programs have enjoyed a shared mission and a collaborative relationship, one that continues to this day.
As Pope Francis notes, "Nature holds a special attraction for many adolescents and young people... Such is the case with the scouting movement and other groups that encourage closeness to nature, camping trips, hiking, expeditions, and campaigns to improve the environment. In the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, these experiences can be a real initiation into the school of universal fraternity and contemplative prayer." (Christus Vivit 228)
There are various Catholic organizations and committees across the United States that work with scouting and which provide helpful resources for parishes, parents, and young people in the Church.
At the national level, these include the following