75th Anniversary? Click here for Home

   It has recently come to my attention that at this year's (2009) meeting of the NCCS Executive Board and Standing Committees, they will be celebrating the 75th anniversary. Of course, a couple of questions come to mind: "75 years of what?" "What happened in 1934 ?" My response - I'm not sure what happened and nothing that warrants such recognition.

   The first documented Catholic unit was formed in Minnesota in 1910 (99 years ago) by Fr. Hart. The first Catholic troop to be organized in the USA with ecclesiastical approval was in 1912 (97 years ago) with the formation of a Catholic Troop at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. The following year (1913) the BSA created a Catholic Bureau (96 years ago). The bishops formed the National Catholic War Council in 1917, with Scouting to be promoted by the NCWC (92 years ago). Records indicate that Ridder and Barnabas created the Catholic Committee on Scouting in 1922 (87 years ago). Fr. Dolan created the Ad Altare Dei in 1925 (84 years ago) and it was first presented in 1926 (83 years ago). While there are conflicting reports concerning when Bishop Francis Kelley assumed the chairmanship of the Catholic Committee on Scouting, a letter from him in 1932 indicates his acceptance (77 years ago) that September. Once in place, Kelley created the Bishops' Committee on Scouting--as a part of the Catholic Committee on Scouting--and set out to formalize the relationship between the BSA and his Bishops' Committee. A formal plan (The Plan of Cooperation) was agreed to by both the BSA and the Bishops' Committee in 1933 (76 years ago) and the Bishop's Committee held its first annual meeting in Washington, DC. In compliance with the Plan of Cooperation, the BSA appointed William Campbell (the nominal Chairman of the Laymen's Committee) to its Executive Board in 1934 (75 years ago). And finally, the first Diocesan Scout Chaplains' Conference was held in 1934 (75 years ago).

   Given this history, there could only be a couple of events that the NCCS is celebrating. First, the 75th anniversary of the appointment of its chairman to the BSA's executive board. Ironic, since many decades ago the BSA stopped automatically appointing the NCCS chair to membership of its executive board. And second, the 75th anniversary of the first Diocesan Scout Chaplains' Conference. Since the biennial conferences are the equivalent of the Scout Chaplains' Conferences, should one not wait to celebrate such an anniversary during the biennial conference and not at an executive board meeting? In conclusion, I am still not sure what the NCCS is really celebrating this year. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

   While a couple of NCCS members have contacted me within the last few months, those responsible for proclaiming the 75th anniversary never did. I would have been happy to discuss this matter with them, before they announced the "75th anniversary." Given the evolution of Catholic Scouting and the NCCS--as outlined above--it is difficult to point to one single year as the beginning of Catholic Scouting or the NCCS. In fact, there are several time posts that one can use. Frankly, from my research, I don't see 1934 as being that significant.


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