Scout Awards Recognize Achievements in Spiritual Growth and Christian Leadership

Twenty-eight youths and two adults were recognized by the Allentown Diocese Catholic Committee on Scouting for their achievements and contributions to Catholic Scouting in an award ceremony May 19 at Kutztown University’s St. Christopher Catholic Newman Center.

Laurie Guastella, mother of 17-year-old Reno Guastella, describes her son as “a very spiritual child.” Reno Guastella received the Pope Pius XII award for Christian leadership. The Guastella family are parishioners at St. Ann, Emmaus.

“It was a lot of writing, discussion, and interviews,” said Reno Guastella of the activities he completed for the award, which he earned while simultaneously working on his Eagle Scout project.

“It’s brought her out of her shell,” said Jessica Tomaselli of the impact the Scouting program has had on her daughter, Genevieve Tomaselli.

The Tomaselli family are parishioners of St. Columbkill, Boyertown, and Genevieve received the Parvuli Dei award for Cub Scouts ages 8-10 to discover the presence of God in their daily lives and develop a positive self-image.

Genevieve completed many activities to earn the award, including organizing a family prayer service and being interviewed by her pastor, Father Richard Clement.

During his homily, Father Eric Tolentino, the Catholic Scout Chaplain and pastor of Annunciation BVM, Catasauqua, said of the scouting awards, “No one gives them to you; you earn them.”

“Much like being a disciple of Christ, you have to make some sacrifices and earn it,” he said. “You’re learning to love Christ, to serve your community, and to be a leader.”

The ceremony opened with the Scouts processing in, posting colors, and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and Scout Law.

Father Tolentino led the scouts and their families in Eucharistic Adoration, and later heard confessions.

Music was provided by Bill Minford, co-chairman of the Catholic Committee for Minsi Trails Council, on guitar, and the father-son duo of Ben and John Heller on trumpets. Master of ceremony was Randy Bjorken, co-chairman of the Catholic Committee for Hawk Mountain Council.

After confessions, Father Tolentino read the Gospel of John (21:15-19) and preached his homily. He spoke about Jesus after the Resurrection appearing to His Apostles and giving the Apostle Peter the opportunity to proclaim his love for Jesus three times, thus reversing his previous three denials.

“Being a Scout is easy compared to being a disciple of Jesus,” said Father Tolentino. He urged families to “follow Him and be holy families. Embrace this truth every day. Every day, by the grace of God, we should be striving to become saints.”

After reposing the Blessed Sacrament from the monstrance to the tabernacle, Father Tolentino blessed the medals and presented them to each award recipient present.

All four of the possible religious emblems were represented: the Light of Christ Award for Tiger and Wolf Cub Scouts (ages 6-7), the Parvuli Dei Award for older Cub Scouts (ages 8-10), the Ad Altare Dei Award for Scouts (ages 10-18), and the Pope Pius XII Award for high school Scouts and Venturers. Recipients are listed below.

Within the five counties of the Diocese of Allentown (Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill) are two Scout councils: Minsi Trails Council in Allentown and Hawk Mountain Council in Reading.

Light of Christ Award

This award recognizes Cub Scouts, ages 8 to 10, who have shown an understanding of what it means to develop a personal relationship with Jesus as a real person and friend. The following are recipients of the award:

Hawk Mountain Council: St. Ignatius Loyola, Sinking Spring – Maxwell Brent, Robert Francis Oswald.

Minsi Trails Council: St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Whitehall – Frank Schoepflin; St. Joseph, Coopersburg – Paul Arruda, Graham Verges; St. Thomas More, Allentown – Anthony Gallucci, Timothy Heller, Rowan Hoxie.

Parvuli Dei Award

This award recognizes Cub Scouts who have shown an understanding of what it means to discover the presence of God in their daily lives, and have developed a positive self-image through the contributions they have made to their community. The following are recipients of the award:

Hawk Mountain Council: Sacred Heart, West Reading – James Gubernot; St. Columbkill, Boyertown – Genevieve Tomaselli.

Minsi Trails Council: Holy Ghost, Bethlehem – Camaron James Galle.

Ad Altare Dei Award

This award recognizes scouts who have shown an understanding of what it means to be a follower and disciple of Christ by applying the Sacraments to their life. The following are recipients of this award:

Hawk Mountain Council: Holy Guardian Angels, Reading – Carlos Flood, Elijah Foulkes, Ethan Noll, Frank Sabatucci, Giancarlo Sabatucci, Cody Toplak, Nick Wentzel.

Minsi Trails Council: St. Thomas More, Allentown – Julian Borkowski, Kevin Damitz, Mansell Kazuba, Martin Keane, Declan McGee.

Pope Pius XII Award

This award recognizes young adults who are lay leaders in the Church and in community affairs. The following are recipients of this award:

Minsi Trails Council: St. Thomas More, Allentown – Kevin Carbone, Jacob Piccini; St. Ann, Emmaus – Reno Guastella, Anthony Romero, Aidan Winas.

Bishop’s Award

This award recognizes the contribution of adult leaders in the spiritual aspects of the Scouting program within the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Allentown, and it was awarded to Jason Piccini.

Piccini has served as Cubmaster of Pack 439 and is Scoutmaster of Troop 439, both sponsored by St. Thomas More, Allentown. Under his leadership, the St. Thomas More units have carried out many community service projects.

St. George Award

This award recognizes members of the laity and clergy who have made significant and outstanding contributions to the spiritual development of Catholic youth through Scouting.

The Allentown Diocese Catholic Committee on Scouting presented the St. George Award to Anthony J. Wiencek.

Active in Scouting since 1991, Wiencek has encouraged every Cub and Scout he has mentored to earn all four of the Roman Catholic religious awards offered by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting. He has served in various Scouting roles and has organized Scout Sunday at Holy Guardian Angels, Reading for over 20 years.

For more information on the Allentown Diocese Catholic Committee on Scouting, go to


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