Bishop celebrates Mass for Boy Scouts at camp

The Boy Scout Awards Ceremony, held March 27 at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Kansas City, honored Scouts for their dedication and perseverance in striving to live by the Boy Scout Oath and Law. Bishop James Johnston, Jr. was the celebrant. (Marty Denzer/Key photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — The H. Roe Bartle Boy Scout Camp at Osceola, named in honor of the longtime Scout Executive of the Kansas City Area Council and two-term mayor of Kansas City, has been the summer camp-home for Boy Scouts of the Heart of America Council and the Tribe of Mic-O-Say leadership development and honors program since 1929. Bartle served as Scout Executive of the Cheyenne Council in Casper, Wyo., from 1923-24, then served in a similar position from 1925-28 in St. Joseph, Mo. Inspired by a program of the Casper Council, he created the Tribe of Mic-O-Say honors and leadership development program in 1925. Bartle brought the Tribe of Mic-O-Say program to Boy Scout Camp O in Osceola in 1929 as well as the Boy Scouts Heart of America Council.

On June 16, Bishop James V. Johnston Jr., celebrated Mass for the Scouts attending the second camp session. It had rained hard the night before, but the bishop, a former Eagle Scout, trudged gamely through the mud to the open air Twelve Apostles Chapel—built for the Boy Scout camp in 1967 according to Fr. Joe Powers, chaplain of the diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting. The chapel was expanded in 1998 then rebuilt in the early 2000s.

The bishop’s homily drew upon the Boy Scout Oath — On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. He reminded the Scouts, their leaders and visiting parents that their first duty was to worship God. The remainder of the Oath and the 12 points of the Boy Scout Law revolve around that first duty.

The Boy Scout Law states a Scout is: trustworthy, tell the truth and keep promises. People can depend on you; loyal, show that you care about your family, friends, Scout leaders, school, and country; helpful, volunteer to help others without expecting a reward; friendly, be a friend to everyone, even people who are very different from you; courteous, be polite to everyone and always use good manners. Kind, treat others as you want to be treated. Never harm or kill any living thing without good reason; obedient, follow the rules of your family, school, and pack. Obey the laws of your community and country. Cheerful, look for the bright side of life. Cheerfully do tasks that come your way. Try to help others be happy; thrifty, work to pay your own way. Try not to be wasteful. Use time, food, supplies, and natural resources wisely; brave, face difficult situations even when you feel afraid. Do what you think is right despite what others might be doing or saying; clean, keep your body and mind fit. Help keep your home and community clean, and reverent, be reverent toward God. Be faithful in your religious duties. Respect the beliefs of others.

Deacon Doug Warren, of St. Therese Parish, Parkville, who drove him to the camp from Kansas City and back, recalled that Bishop Johnston’s homily “spoke of his experiences at Boy Scout camp as a youth, that he was an Eagle Scout, and, of course, he was delighted to be with us at camp.”

The facilities at H. Roe Bartle Reservation impressed the bishop, Warren said, and after Mass he was approached by many leaders and Scouts who had heard his homily. When Bishop Johnston said his farewells, they drove the short trip to Iconium to “cap off his visit with a peach Nehi float, a Boy Scout camp tradition” since the early 1970s, although Scouts usually hike to Scott’s store about two miles from H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation for the treat.

The bishop laughed when asked about it later, and said he really enjoyed it and was glad it was a Boy Scout Camp tradition.


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November 25, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph