Scouts' honor


POSTED: Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The nine boys from the St. Damien Boy Scouts Troop go beyond the Scout oath about duty to God and country as they convene at a different church each week.

They are on a mission to finance their trip to Rome for the Oct. 11 canonization of St. Damien De Veuster. At St. John Apostle & Evangelist Church in Mililani on Sunday, they sold T-shirts, key chains, medals and rosaries. They're still a few thousand dollars short of the $26,000 goal.

The trip is not just for fun. The teenagers are working on badges in journalism, photography and cinematography, and “;citizen of the world”; categories.

“;They will be sharing the experience, making other kids excited about Damien and integrating their faith with their work,”; said scoutmaster John Fielding. The boys will carry video cameras at Damien celebrations in Belgium and Rome, and chronicle the events on Internet sites. They aim to post footage by 10 a.m. Hawaii time for school classes in Hawaii to use.

The project is the brainchild of Fielding, a member of the Catholic Committee on Scouting and a Cub Scout troop packmaster. He said he and his wife, Rose, talked about the canonization, remarking that most people who will travel to it are older adults.

        The St. Damien Boy Scouts Troop is selling hand-knotted rosaries, like the one below, for $20. For information about the troop's fundraising:
        » Call Scoutmaster John Fielding at 306-6878.
        » Write to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
        » Visit stdamienboyscouts.wordpress.com.


“;I said it's sad that they don't emphasize youthful participation. It's a missed opportunity to get young people excited about a big international event. So we created Father Damien Scout Troop for the occasion.”; Fielding discussed his idea with scouting officials and Catholic diocese leaders, then recruited at the annual summer statewide Boy Scout Makahiki.

Bradley Fredericks, 13, of Aiea said: “;Mr. Fielding went to the troops that looked the most professional and asked the scoutmasters for their best Catholic Scout. In my troop there were three of us, so they did a coin toss and I won.

“;It's going to be fun—not only the canonization, but other stuff, seeing the pope and the monuments, the Sistine Chapel,”; Bradley said. “;It will be cool to go to Mass there.”;

Royce Masuda, 14, the only Protestant in the troop and a Damien High School student, will seek donations from his congregation at Kalihi Union Church next weekend. He and his father, Ross Masuda, assistant scoutmaster of the troop, said they will have a historic, rather than religious, perspective on the trip. “;It's a once-in-a-lifetime event, especially since Father Damien is the first saint coming from Hawaii,”; said Ross Masuda.

Bradley's mother, Theresa Fredericks, revived an old skill and taught the Scouts and their parents how to make rosaries out of knotted twine, adding the handcrafted prayer strings to the fundraiser wares. “;We've made more than 150,”; she said. “;It turns out that most of them are being made by the boys' fathers.”; One of them, Robert Baysa, a dentist and father of Scout Zachary Baysa, 15, “;makes them at work. He said it relaxes him.”;

There's not much relaxing about the Scouts' schedule in their last laps to Rome. They heard guidance about Italian customs at a recent troop meeting: No shorts in church. Pickpockets swarm so don't fill cargo pants pockets with valuables. “;Ciao”; is only for someone you know. Order a pepperoni pizza and you'll face little peppers, not sausage. And other cultural tips.

Fielding's son, Zachary, 13, is one of the select troop, as are Nick Huff, 14, Riggs Brown, 13, Nathan “;Alex”; Henderson, 15, and Chris Nishijima, 17.

Patrick Aldior, 16, of Mililani quoted a phrase from the Boy Scout oath—“;to help other people at all times”;—when asked to describe Damien.