annlederman's blog

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

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!

Get to know our new Holy Father: "El Papa" from Argentine: Pope Francis

Great story about Pope Francis-Shoe Leather Evangelization


Get to Know Our New Holy Father: Pope Francis

Posted on 2013/03/13 by Gretchen

We have a new pope! Habemus Papem!

Habemus Papam! (“We Have a Pope!”) is the announcement given in Latin by the senior Cardinal Deacon upon the election of a new pope. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, today elected Supreme Pontiff by his brother Cardinals, has taken the name Pope Francis.  It has been confirmed by a Vatican spokesman that this name is chosen for  St. Francis of Assisi (and not St. Francis Xavier, the amazing Jesuit evangelist to Asia; although Xavier also was named after Assisi).  Cardinal Bergoglio has consistently kept a strong commitment to the poor and marginalized,  forgoing the pomp and luxury associated with his office for austere living . . . just like St. Francis of Assisi.

St. Francis of Assisi was commissioned by Christ to “Repair My Church” while he was praying in front of the San Damiano Crucifix.  St. Francis (1182-1226) went on to found the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscans), the great mendicant friars and evangelists who shunned the world for Christ and took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. It is fitting that our new Holy Father has chosen this saint for himself, considering the tough task ahead of repairing the bruised Church and leading her into the frontiers of the New Evangelization initiated by his predecessors.

A Pope of Firsts

Pope Francis is already making waves on his first day in office as a novel Holy Father. He is the:

  • First Pope of from the Americas
  • First Latin American Pope
  • First Pope from the Southern Hemisphere
  • First non-European leader in more than a millennium
  • First Jesuit Pope
  • First Pope named Francis

Quick Facts

  • He’s 76 years old & of Italian descent
  • He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 17, 1936
  • He’s one of the five children of an Italian railway worker and his wife
  • He’s the former archbishop of Buenos Aires appointed in 1997
  • Latin America is home to nearly half of the world’s Catholics
  • He taught literature and psychology in Buenos Aires
  • He was ordained a priest on December 13, 1969, at the age of 33
  • Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal in 2001
  • He studied theology in Germany
  • He has experience at the Vatican, but is not an “insider”
  • He was the runner up in 2005 conclave, after Cardinal Ratzinger
  • He was elected Pope in the fifth round of voting at the conclave
  • He secured a two-thirds majority 24 hours after the conclave began
  • He is unwaveringly orthodox with traditional Ignatian spirituality

History & Accomplishments

  • He studied for a master’s in chemical engineering at the University of Buenos Aires, then went to seminary in Santiago, Chile.
  • He has served on the following committees: Congregation of Clergy, Congregation of Divine Worship and Sacraments, Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life, the Congregation of Societies of Apostolic Life, the Pontifical Council for the Family, and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
  • After John Paul II made Bergoglio a cardinal in 2001, he assigned him the Roman church named after the Jesuit Saint Robert Bellarmino: Doctor of the Church, top Council of Trent theologian, and Counter-Reformation scholar.
  • He served as the ordinary for Eastern Catholics in Argentina and is familiar with the mass of St. Chrysostom. Because of this his relations with Eastern Orthodox Christians is anticipated to be strong.


What We Saw Today

According to one Catholic blogger,  Cardinal Bergoglio is “known for his humility, doctrinal conservatism, defender of the Church’s moral theology, and a commitment to social justice.”  Humility was the first mark of his pontificate; after Pope Francis was led out on the balcony and presented to the world, he first led everyone in prayer for Pope Benedict XVI, then asked for their prayers while bowing to receive them (shown above). And, of course, he chose the name St. Francis, a saint so humble that he did not see himself worthy enough to be a priest; St. Francis of Assisi chose to remain a simple friar as he served the poor and preached the Gospel.  Shortly after he was elected,  Pope Francis placed a phone call to his predecessor, Benedict XVI, an act of giving honor to whom honor is due.

Read Pope Francis’ first words to the world here.

 Here’s a great post from earlier today found on The Gregorian Institute Blog. According to Dr. Edward Mulholland, the three keys to Pope Francis’ pontificate will be humility, reform and evangelization:


“Humility: You saw it. His first act as pope, before blessing his people, was to pray for his predecessor and then to bow down before his flock and ask for their prayers. Even as Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Juan Mario Bergoglio lived in a small dwelling, not a palace, cooked for himself, and often took public transportation. He is a Latin American Jesuit with a huge heart for Social Justice, and yet distanced himself early on from currents of “Liberation Theology,” which would have us practice the Gospel seen through a Marxist prism. Such a stance may have made him unpopular in his seminary days. It takes humility to buck trends and stick to the truth. It takes humility to recognize your own weakness and ask for prayers. It takes humility to live humbly as a prince of the Church

“Reform: Pope Francis has worked with the Curia, but he is an outsider, not an insider. He said the cardinals went to the “end of the earth” to find him. And he picks a name not ever used before. This marks something new. Francis of Assisi was asked by God to rebuild his Church. He at first thought it was the run-down church of San Damiano. He soon learned it was the whole Church, through a humble living of the Gospel.  Pope Francis I will be a man of reform. He has an Italian last name but a new fresh perspective. It will not be business as usual in Rome for long.

“Evangelization: For a Jesuit, the first Francis that comes to mind would not be the Poverello of Assisi, but St. Francis Xavier, one of St. Ignatius’ first “Company of Jesus,” whose native language, Spanish, Jorge Bergoglio shares. Converted as a young man in college, St. Francis Xavier went to the ends of the earth to preach the Gospel, including Japan, before dying on the island of Goa. At the upcoming World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, you will hear the new Pope tell the youth of the world that story and challenge them to be like Francis Xavier. Bet on it. This will be a pontificate that is marked by a reinvigorated New Evangelization.”

 We are very excited about our new Holy Father.  Join with us in prayer for him!

BY Emily Stimpson

Blog By Lizzie

Encounter Weekend – What It Means To ME

             As a Catholic Venturer, I have had many opportunities to be involved with the Office of Catholic Scouting and the Catholic Youth Apostolate through the Archdiocese of St. Louis. This will be my fourth year staffing the annual Catholic Encounter Weekend for Boy Scouts and Venturers, and I am excited beyond belief! The Encounter Weekend has been a building block for not only my scouting career, but also my faith life. I can vividly remember my first year as a high school youth staffer at this retreat.

As soon as I was old enough to be registered for the Venturing program, I was; I immediately started to help plan things for that year’s Encounter Weekend retreat. My dad was almost as excited as I was to get started. He, along with my brothers, had been involved with the retreat for a while, and they were glad that I could finally share this with them. I was, too! They took me to the planning meetings with them, and once I started to get the hang of being a member of the Boy Scouts of America, I started to really enjoy what I could do with it. I stopped going to the meetings because my dad and brothers were going, and started to go because I knew I had friends there and I liked being a part of the planning process of such an awesome thing.

The weekend finally came, and all of our hard work and dedication paid off. I could tell that the participants enjoyed it. I know they really did learn from it, but I believe I may have gotten more out of it than they did. It was rewarding to me to see the faith of the participants grow through the planning and teaching of myself and my fellow staffers. It was interesting to me to see the impact of the staff on each other and on the participants. It was satisfying to me to grow closer to God through my family, friends, and the youth that make up the future. Throughout the years, I continued to plan and staff the next retreat, and now I am seen as a leader and role model for the other youth staff and participants alike.

I believe that God put these people (the people who participate and/or help put together the Encounter Weekend) in my life for a reason. Through growing closer to Him, I can help others do the same. That is why I continue to come back and staff every year. I take time out of my busy schedule, overwhelmed with my senior year of high school, sports during every season of the year, more clubs than I can name, countless service and leadership activities, and many other things, to participate in something that is very important to me – scouting. Catholic scouting, that is! I hope to continue to be involved with the Office of Catholic Scouting and the Encounter Weekend for years to come. No matter how busy I am or how busy I will be, there will always be room for my faith, and staffing the Encounter Weekend is an essential part of that!


Lizzie Schneider

Senior at Hazelwood West High School

St. Ferdinand Parish

Venturing Crew 2829

Encounter Weekend Staff 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

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