Catholics in Scouting launch centenary celebrations at Mouscron, Belgium
The inaugural weekend of the World Centennial of Catholic Scouts and Guides took place in Mouscron (Belgium) on 12 and 13 January. Situated close to Belgium’s border with France (Lille), Mouscron is the place where 100 years ago the first troop of Catholic Scouts started their activities under the leadership of Jean Corbisier and Father Jacques Sevin. Father Sevin was a French priest that the Pope declared ‘Venerable’ in 2012. The event was jointly organised by the International Conference of Catholics in Scouting (ICCS), alongside the ICCG – Guiding counterpart organisation with the support of the Guide and Scout Associations in Belgium. ICCS currently holds a Consultative Status with the World Scout Committee.
Representing World Scouting on the occasion in Mouscron, John May (UK), Vice-Chair of the World Scout Committee, thanked ICCS for the role it plays in strengthening the spiritual dimension of the programme within Scouting around the world, whether through its relationships with individual NSOs or through the contributions it has made to faith and spiritual development activities at World Scout Events - through active participation in the ‘Faith and Belief Zones’, support to religious celebrations and the organisation of inter-religious ceremonies at these events. He paid tribute to the work that the ICCS has done in promoting inter-faith dialogue, particularly through its work in the World Scout Inter-religious Forum and World Scout Inter-religious Symposiums. He noted that, alongside other organisations with Consultative Status with the World Scout Committee, ICCS has provided excellent support to the work of the Committee and World Scouting in general, whenever called upon.
Over the weekend, approximately 120 participants took part in a number of workshops and discussions at the kickoff of the Centennial celebrations. These workshops provided participants with the opportunity to hear from expert speakers and then discuss the various topics – including: the history of Guiding and Scouting in former communist states; keeping Guiding and Scouting alive during the time that they were proscribed in Spain; growing Guiding and Scouting in sub-Saharan Africa; inter-religious dialogue; and Guiding and Scouting in the Middle East. Participants took part in a set of spiritual reflections late on the Saturday evening; heard about the history and plans for the future of ICCS, ICCG, and Guiding & Scouting in Belgium on the Sunday morning and celebrated Mass together.
In a message to ICCS, WOSM Secretary General Scott Teare said “Congratulations to the International Conference of Catholics in Scouting (ICCS) on the occasion of your 100th anniversary of service to young people of the Catholic faith. Please also accept my personal best wishes as you gather for the inaugural weekend of your World Centennial of Catholic Scouts and Guides taking place in Mouscron, Belgium. ICCS has been a strong supporter of the spiritual dimension in Scouting. As you move into your second century of service, I wish nothing short of continued success in your support of the young people that raise their right hand in the Scout Sign and pledge their Duty to God."
Read more about the event on Belgian online journal l'avenir.net's article 'Scoutisme catholique : un centenaire tourné vers l’avenir' by clicking here (available in French).