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By Keishla Espinal

Scouts Learn About the Gift of the Eucharist

Caption: Youth from across the Diocese of St. Petersburg learn about the Gift of the Eucharist during a retreat at Our Lady of Good Counsel Camp on October 15, 2022. Photos by Keishla Espinal.


October 18, 2022 | Sixteen-year-old, Daniel spent his weekend unplugged, outdoors, and spending time learning about Jesus.

“I like the camaraderie and being able to go to the outdoors and spend time outdoors, away from school and away from things like technology,” he said.

He and other teenagers from across the Diocese of St. Petersburg participated in the annual Diocesan Catholic Scouts Retreat, October 14-16, 2022. The theme was centered on learning about the Gift of the Eucharist to connect with the National Eucharistic Revival, which was launched on June 19, 2022, by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The initiative, "Eucharistic Revival: My Flesh for the Life of the World," invites U.S. Catholics of all ages to become part of a national movement “to renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.”

To help build that relationship, the teens participated in a teaching Mass, where the different parts of the Mass were explained as they were being celebrated by the presiding priest, Father Elixavier Castro, Chaplain for the Diocesan Committee on Catholic Scouting.

“It’s important to teach the scouts about the Eucharist because it is a summit of all the Sacraments. It is the ultimate expression of God’s love for us, as He literally feeds us His body and His blood in the celebration of Mass,” said Father Castro. “It is something we focus on to help our kids realize God is here present for them, and to nourish them, and to help them in that journey. So, we wanted to emphasize that for the scouts as they continue their call to be reverent and to fulfill their vocation of sanctity.”

The teens also learned about Eucharistic miracles and importance of praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

“When we do our annual retreat, we try to pick topics that are centered around current topics of the Church,” said Ryan Phelan, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of St. Petersburg. “The goal is for the teens to see their place in the Church, and also to start seeing themselves as leaders in the Church and moving the mission forward.”

During the retreat, held at Our Lady of Good Counsel Camp in Citrus County, Daniel and other scouts also participated in hands-on activities like baking unleavened bread in Dutch ovens that could be used as hosts during Mass.

“It was something I had never done before and I don’t think I’ll be ever doing again on a retreat like this,” said Daniel.

Susan D’Angelo, charted representative for the St. Stephen Scouts Unit said, “when we engage all of their senses, not just throwing a book at them but having them make unleavened bread and participate in different activities it can help these kids learn and grow in their faith while also having fun.”

For Daniel, the retreat has been a source of spiritual uplifting and joy.

“Scouting is very much like my faith; you’re going to go through rough patches. But in the end, scouting has given me a lot of life lessons through both my failure and successes. Like one’s faith, through trials and through joys. It deepens your faith and shows you; you can’t just quit at the first sign of hardship. You must persevere.”

To celebrate all the weekend accomplishments of learning and understanding the Holy Eucharist, Daniel and the rest of the scouts were presented with a patch embroidered with the National Eucharistic Revival logo.

Youth from across the Diocese of St. Petersburg learn about the Gift of the Eucharist during a retreat at Our Lady of Good Counsel Camp on October 15, 2022. Photos by Keishla Espinal.

Father Elixavier Castro, Chaplain for the Diocesan Committee on Catholic Scouting, celebrates Mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel Camp for the Diocesan Catholic Scout Retreat.

Volunteers with the Diocesan Committee on Catholic Scouting wear t-shirts with the logo of the National Eucharistic Revival, which was the theme for their annual retreat.

All youth who attended the annual Diocesan Catholic Scout Retreat earned the Gift of the Eucharist badge that features the logo of the National Eucharistic Revival.