Ad Altare Dei Day of Recollection

On April 1st, we had our Ad Altare Dei Day of Recollection for Troop 962. This was our schedule:

8:20am – Dropoff
8:30am – Mass
9:30am – Breakfast
10:00am – Workbook
12:00pm – Lunch
12:45pm – Make a Paracord Hybrid Rosary/Sacrifice Beads
2:15pm – Game & Snacks
3:00pm – Rosary
3:30pm – Movie Scavenger Hunt
6:00pm – Dinner, Movie Discussion
6:45pm – Workbook, free time
9:00pm – Compline
9:45pm – Pickup

On the 8th, I asked for evaluations from our participants and their parents. Let me preface details by saying that I am so proud of our Scouts! They did an excellent job staying focused and extremely well behaved throughout the entire day, gave their all to every task and activity, and gave really helpful feedback for future Day of Recollections! Dad and I facilitated the entire day, one parent was able to join us for Mass, another parent joined us after work, and all our Scouts had at least one parent join us for Compline.

We discussed the Mass during breakfast. Half of our participants attend regularly Mass at St. Max and the other half at St. John’s. I heard some interesting comments on the style of our respective pastors, the use of music or lack of it at daily Mass, the presence of kneelers at St. Max and absence of kneelers at St. John’s, the difference of sound quality, etc. The Scouts were able to make entries in part C of the first chapter in their workbook after attending Mass.

We continued with Chapter 2 of their workbook, and when we got to the discussion of the 10 Commandments and the Scout Oath and Law, I provided them with an Examination of Conscience for Scouts, bits of which I originally found on the internet, and which I then expanded on and combined with the typical Examination of Conscience which is broken down by Commandment.

An Examination of Conscience for Scouts

Trustworthy

  • Have I lied during Confession, or any other time?
  • Have I broken the law?
  • Have I stolen any goods?
  • Have I returned or made restitution for what I have stolen?
  • Do I pay off my debts within a timely manner?
  • Did I intentionally fail to honor any promises or contracts made?
  • Have I been a good example to others in living out the Catholic faith?
  • Did I fail to keep secret what should be confidential?

Loyal

  • Have I knowingly missed Mass on Sunday or any Holy Day of Obligation?
  • Have I joined another Christian denomination, practiced any non-Christian religions, or fallen away from the Church?
  • Have I engaged in anything Occult?
  • Have I joined any group forbidden for Catholics to join (such as the Freemasons or Communists)?
  • Have I put material goods first before God?
  • Do I give God time every day in prayer?
  • Do I seek to love God with my whole heart?

Helpful

  • Have I helped others to sin by scandal (or other means)?
  • Have done my part to use my time, talent, and treasure to further the good work of the Church?
  • Do I care for my aged and infirm relatives?

Friendly

  • Did I intentionally lie to ruin a person’s reputation?
  • Did I spread gossip or rumors about another person?

Courteous

  • Have I treated all members of the opposite sex with respect and not thought of them as objects?
  • Have I been prejudiced, or unjustly discriminated against others because of their race, color, nationality, sex or religion?
  • Do I respect my elders?
  • Do I respect my pastor, bishop, and the Pope?

Kind

  • Have I knowingly belittled others with my words?
  • Have I ever wished evil on another person or wished that bad things would happen to a person?
  • Have I unjustly inflicted bodily harm on another?
  • Have I intentionally abused another person either verbally or emotionally?
  • Did I blaspheme or insult God?
  • Do I try to bring peace into my home life?
  • Have I harbored hatred in my heart?

Obedient

  • Have I listened to the requests of my parents and ignored them?
  • Have I listened to the requests of those in authority other than my parents?
  • Have I kept fast and abstinence on the days required?
  • Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation?
  • Have I not kept Sunday as a family day and a day of rest?
  • Do I do needless work on Sunday?
  • Do I make others work on Sunday?

Cheerful

  • Did I give in to despair about my salvation or the forgiveness of my sin?
  • Did I ever get angry at God?

Thrifty

  • Do I waste time at work, school, or at home?
  • Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?
  • Am I jealous of what other people have?
  • Am I greedy or selfish?
  • Are material possessions the purpose of my life?
  • Do I trust that God will care for all of my material and spiritual needs?

Brave

  • Did I deny that God does exists?
  • Have I failed to speak out and defend the Catholic faith and the Catholic Church?
  • Have I failed to speak out in the defense of another person?

Clean

  • Have I neglected personal hygiene?
  • Have I been looking at dirty pictures either in print or on the internet?
  • Have I looked at a pretty girl with lustful eyes?
  • Have I masturbated?
  • Have I used illegal drugs?
  • Have I dressed modestly?
  • Have I been guilty of any homosexual activity?

Reverent

  • Have I remembered to leave sufficient time for prayer and to engage in daily prayer?
  • Did I receive the Blessed Sacrament in a state of Mortal Sin?
  • Did I commit a sacrilege against the Blessed Sacrament?
  • Have I used God’s name in vain, lightly or carelessly?

We had some really awesome discussion while doing our workbook exercises. We got into the origin of the Bible, the Canon, looking at the context in which the various writers of the Bible were expressing things like age (i.e. Abraham isn’t actually 700-something years old, but rather age as expressed in the Bible is an indication of the importance of that person), why dinosaurs aren’t in the Bible, did Creation really occur in 144 hours, and much, much more. I love the questions our Scouts have!! We had our Bibles handy and the CCC [via the internet] and the Catholic Encyclopedia via NewAdvent.org, and just had a blast really figuring out what aspects of our Faith interested and puzzled our Scouts. We also discussed the hierarchy of the Church and watched the pope election video:

The Scouts found that amusing =) aside from being educational. This launched a brief discussion of time limits regarding the papal conclave (due to the record length noted of three years) and the existence – or non-existence – of external pressures.

The Scouts apparently really enjoyed the rosary making, and they told me that I should definitely keep that part for future retreats! I was really happy to hear this, because at first, they seemed to find it overly-complicated. But all four of them persevered and worked on their rosaries while watching the movie, and all of them were able to use their rosaries when we prayed the Joyful Mysteries later on in the day.

SAM_1289

The medals have St. George on one side and the Divine Mercy on the other. St. George is the patron saint of Scouts, and we just had Divine Mercy Sunday! They were pretty perfect and made me super happy and thankful for being led to finding them.

I had gotten a set of Catholic Doctrine Playing Cards when I was at the Cross in the Woods in Michigan, and I decided to try playing a game sort of like Ungguy Ungguyan (basically Old Maid), expect that every time you drew a card, you asked for whatever was on the back of the card. The feedback from the boys was that this game was too hard, which was understandable! I chose to play it because I felt it might level the playing ground a bit, since I myself am terribly stumped by many of the cards, is was Dad, who also played with us. Consider that one card asked you to list all the Doctors of the Church! I failed miserably at that. I also failed to pronounce an Act of Hope, which I remember learning in 6th or 7th grade, but clearly did not retain. As we played, we modified the game so that you weren’t asking the question of a single person, but of the whole group. In this way, we got more things right. We named all the books in the New Testament together!!! I was super proud of all of them for what we did accomplish. I would like to use these cards again, because this is information that we really should be familiar with, but I will definitely have to rethink how to use them.

Our Scouts told me to keep the Movie Scavenger Hunt, not necessarily with the same movie, but they apparently enjoyed the concept and the discussion following. We watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and this was the list that I gave them for their scavenger hunt:

  • The Agony in the Garden
  • The Scourging
  • The Crowning with Thorns
  • The Crucifixion
  • The Resurrection
  • The Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • The Sacrament of Confirmation
  • The Mass
  • Something in Narnia that belongs in our world
  • 3 priests
  • The Devil
  • Christ
  • Sacramental graces

I asked them if they had any questions about any of the things on the list before we started the movie. They did a super awesome job!!!! The only ones that they had trouble with were the Mass and sacramental graces. They also came to a different conclusion regarding the Sacrament of Confirmation than I had intended for them to find, but that’s ok! It opened up awesome discussion. So, answer key, in case any of you were wondering:

  • The Agony in the Garden – when Aslan was walking with Lucy and Susan, and also when talking in the tent with the Witch
  • The Scourging – the mocking and spitting and physical abuse of Aslan
  • The Crowning with Thorns – the shaving of Aslan’s mane
  • The Crucifixion – self-explanatory
  • The Resurrection – self-explanatory
  • The Sacrament of Reconciliation – Aslan speaking with Edmund and then telling everyone else that there was no need to speak of the past
  • The Sacrament of Confirmation – the Scouts answered when Peter was knighted, which was an excellent answer; the answer which I offered to them for their additional consideration was the coronation, specifically the line, “Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen,” similar to Confirmation being the time when we are recognized as an adult in the Church, taking on our Baptismal Promises and being bound by them always
  • The Mass – the experience of being in Narnia, in that the Mass is a taste of Heaven, that idea of being in the Presence of the Bridegroom, and taking the experience of the Mass – Narnia – with us out into the world
  • Something in Narnia that belongs in our world – the lamppost
  • 3 priests – Aslan, the Professor, and Father Christmas
  • The Devil – Jadis
  • Christ – Aslan
  • Sacramental graces – Father Christmas’ gifts to Peter, Susan, and Lucy

All of the Scouts and parents enjoyed Compline, and the boys said that they would like to do it again. I was so happy to hear this! They said they loved the whole experience and especially the chant. I was also really surprised that none of the Scouts thought that our Day of Recollection was too long. They are troopers!!! Their other suggestions were to have more snacks, more drinks, in general more food, to do more traveling and not have the majority of the retreat in one place – we heard Mass at St. Max and went to St. Gertrude’s for Compline, but otherwise stayed at Crestview for the whole day – and to have more of an explanation of Compline. My Scouts also said that they would like to see more Churches around Cincinnati, and meet the Franciscans. I love it! I told them about the Visita Iglesia tradition, and they said that they would like to do that together!

I’m so grateful to God for opening this door to me. These young men are truly inspiring. Please pray for us all and all our efforts in this apostolate!

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

+ AMDG +

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