Catholic Scouting Blogs

Mary, the First Disciple Moderator Training

Forming leaders to form youth.

Help our young women discover a growing relationship with Our Lady.

Training is required for all mentors and moderators wanting to work with the girls. A separate leader’s guide is given to the adult leaders at training. We offer many different training dates for the Mary, the First Disciple Program all through out the year.

  1. Contact the OYM to schedule a training: 314-792-7613

  2. Please complete the "Declaration of Intent" and "Pledge of Support" in the appendix of your Mary, the First Disciple project book. Once you are finished with the program, you must attend the diocesan Day or Evening of Discipleship and then submit your "Application Form--The Marian Medal" in the very back of the project book before you are allowed to purchase the award. Except for special circumstances, all Mary, the First Disciple awards are presented at the annual rel Sunday service on the first Sunday in March.

Please visit to purchase the Mary, the First Disciple Book and other items.

Women of Our Catholic Faith Workshop

A Great Model To Minister To Youth!

Blog written by Adrienne Vonder Haar

Women of FaithSacred Heart Parish of Valley Park welcomed 60 girls ranging in age from Kindergarten through seventh grade on January 11th to the second “Women of Our Catholic Faith” workshop. The workshop was a three-hour event that encompassed learning about three women of our faith: St. Gianna, St. Mary Magdalene and Sarah. The programming was provided by the Office of Catholic Scouting Ministry of the St. Louis Catholic Youth Apostolate for each of the women studied as a part of their Catholic Identity patch series.

Fleece BlanketsThe girls were led through a series of rotations to explore each of these women. Activities and crafts were provided throughout and they also participated in a service project tying fleece blankets to donate to the Good Shepherd Center. Through the work of volunteers, support from Ladies Auxiliary of Knights of Columbus, Respect Life Group, SHP Men and Ladies Club and the parish school, the workshop was provided at minimal cost to the families who participated.

The workshop was founded by a group of parish women and Girl Scout leaders with the hope that through exposure, the girls would take away valuable faith related lessons from the stories and history of the women presented each year. Besides being a great Parish community event for the girls of the parish and the area Girl Scout organization, the hope is that learning about women who are role models from the Bible and from the legion of Saints will empower girls to participate fully in their faith growing up and realize that all women have a significant role in the Church and a vocation within it.

Event coordinators this year were Pat Snyder, Emily Henderson, Christine Hendricks, Karen Rasure, Sharon Arnzen and Adrienne Vonder Haar.

More Info

Are you interested in using this model for a way of ministering to youth in your parish? The Office of Catholic Scouting Ministry can support you with their programs. You can contact them by phone at 314-792-7613 or by emailing You can also find more information online at

Pat Snyder was one of the main coordinators for the past two years at her parish and she is willing to share with anyone who wants to get the program stated at your parish! Contact Pat at 636-343-6644 or by email at

I Can Make Things BETTER!

“Why We March”

A few weeks ago, our Venturing crew went to Washington DC as part of the Generation Life pilgrimage. Our purpose was to participate in the annual March for Life and to learn how to be more pro-life in our personal lives. The pilgrimage was a fun, spiritual, and serious trip that brought many members of my crew together.  Being one of the older members of my crew, it is sometimes hard for me to find ways to identify with the newer members of the crew.  Through spending about 36 hours on the same bus , and walking around Washington D.C. with them, both on the march and sightseeing, I got to know these people as friends. 

From the march to the Masses with Archbishop Carlson and Bishop Rice,  we got a hefty dose of what it means to be both pro-life and Catholic, simultaneously. We also heard talks from the Sisters of Life who have dedicate their lives to creating a more pro-life world.  The REAP Team also came to talk to the 8th graders about how to help friends experiencing difficult situations in their lives, while a man from the Radiance Foundation spoke to the high schoolers about how we could promote pro-life ideas as we lived our daily lives.

On a more personal level, going on this trip helped me learn more about myself and how I can affect the lives of others.  It helped me realize how I can change many problems or help many good situations just by speaking up, something I rarely do.  I have realized that in speaking up I can change the world for the better.  This trip has helped me to grow in my faith as well as in my crew.  I have grown to realize more of who I am and what I can do for others.

All in all, this trip helped my group and myself to better understand each other, our faith, and what it means to be pro-life Catholics in a secular world. This is what Venturing is all about - venturing out of our comfort zone to make the world a better place.

Luke Szatkowski

Venturing Crew 2116

St. Justin Martyr Parish

Young Girls Grow Deeper Understanding Of Mary, Reflect On Selves

Day of Discipleship 2014

Over two hundred girls active in scouting programs around the St. Louis area gathered last week for Day of Discipleship, a day of prayer and reflection based on a faith-formation program offered by the Office Of Catholic Scouting Ministry called Mary, The First Disciple.

Mary, The First Disciple

Mary, The First Disciple is a Catholic faith-formation program that focuses on Mary as a model of openness and spirituality for young Catholic girls. Although it is popular in scouting programs, it’s available to all Catholic girls in grade levels seven through twelve. The purpose of this formation program is to encourage girls to deepen their understanding of Mary as the earliest follower of Jesus. Participants worked diligently over the past year or more to complete this formation program, which will formally conclude on Presentation Sunday (March 8, 2015) when they will be awarded at the Cathedral Basilica. For more information on Mary, The First Disciple, or to purchase the project book that accompanies it, please visit the Office Of Catholic Scouting website.

Day Of Discipleship

Over 170 girls participated in Day Of Discipleship on Saturday, November 15th. The event began with a prayer service at the St. Vincent de Paul chapel in the Rigali Center. Following the prayer service, discussions took place in the form of share groups lead by trained adult moderators. By the end of the day, participants had the opportunity to develop insights into their personalities, friends, parents, and the world around them. It was an opportunity for the girls to grow in appreciation of Mary and to develop a deeper understanding of themselves. Girls participating in Mary, The First Disciple are required to attend Day Of Discipleship to receive their award. Girls who could not attend Day Of Discipleship had the opportunity to attend Evening Of Discipleship on Thursday, November 20th.

Scouting in the Catholic Church

In true GSLAC tradition "if it ain't rainin we ain't trainin". The only outdoor portion of Scouting in the Catholic Church was the graduation Mass and Awards presentation. Yep it rained. Kevin Hennessey, Craig Ragland, Padre and Fr Dotson pictured here after completing the course at Philmont Training Center.
For more about Scouting in the Catholic Church check out the website below!

The conclusion of the 2013 St George Trek.

The Saint George Trek is The National Catholic Committee on Scouting’s® high adventure Catholic leadership program for older Catholic Boy Scouts and Venture Crew members at Philmont Scout Ranch. The program brings Catholic high school youth from around the country together with selected priests, religious and seminarians for eleven days of backpacking in the context of a vocation retreat. For more information on the St. George Trek

Please continue to pray for these young men and women!

Exploring Our Faith Volume II: Mary The First Disciple Part IV

As we conclude our crash course in Mariology, I want to focus on two Marian dogmas that for some reason seem to give all Catholics trouble despite the fact that we celebrate them as Holy Days of Obligation.

The first one is the Marian dogma of the Immaculate Conception.  If you would ask 100 Catholics what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was, I would bet that 90% or higher would say that it was the moment that Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit conceived Jesus in her womb and they would be wrong.  The Immaculate Conception states that Mary herself was conceived without original sin. 

First and foremost, let me state that Mary, was human like all of us, and was in need of redemption just like you and me.  The dogma of the Immaculate Conception in no way declares that Mary was in no need of a redeemer.  What the doctrine teaches us was that Jesus took the grace of redemption – the grace of the paschal mystery, and applied it to Mary at the moment of her conception and not at the moment of Jesus’ resurrection.  I hope this image helps.  A few years ago my brothers and sisters wanted to get my mom an oven for Christmas but we did not know how to gift wrap it.  Honestly, we wanted her to pick it out so instead we bought my mom gift cards.  My mom therefore received the gift of the oven before it was paid for.  Mary received the gift of salvation before Christ paid the price for it on the cross.  How could He do it?  He could because He is God and time has no value or constraint on Him.  We believe that Mary was kept clean of original sin so that she could be the proper home for the Lord.  This should inspire us to keep our souls clean as we receive the Lord each week in the Eucharist. 

The second teaching is that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven.  I want to make it clear that the Church does not say one way or the other as to whether this happened before or after a physical death.  One theologian said in a pod cast that the early Church referred to Mary as simply falling asleep and awakening to new life.  Since there was no sin in her, there was no separation for her from God and so she simple moved past this world into the next.  Physical proof for this early doctrine of the Church is that no one ever claimed to have a relic of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  We can’t go to Rome and see her finger; we can’t go to the holy land and see her body.  For a culture that was as excited over relics as people are over artifacts from celebrities it is amazing that if Mary had not been assumed into heaven body and soul that not one church claimed to have Mary’s body. Mary’s assumption reminds each of us that we believe in the resurrection of the body and so we have an obligation to take care of our body just as much as our soul. The Assumption also reminds us that we are all called to something higher.


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