About the Emblem
The purpose of the Ad Altare Dei (to the altar of God) emblem program is to help Scouts of the Roman Catholic Rite develop a fully Christian way of life in the faith community. The program is organized in chapters based on the seven sacraments. The seven Sacraments are a primary means toward spiritual growth.
- The most important aspect of the program is that the Scout grows in his/her spiritual experience of his/her relationship to God and the church.
- Any young person who is Roman Catholic and who is registered in a BSA Troop, Venturing Crew or Sea Scouts Ship
- Designed for 13 or 14-year-old Scouts, but older youth may also use this program
- Active member of a unit for at least six months
- Completed 6th grade before starting the program
- Each Scout must have his/her own Ad Altare Dei Youth Manual (Publication Date: 2014) or Ad Altare Dei Youth Manual Electronic Version, depending on the class structure chosen by the counselor. The manual is designed for the youth to work on with the guidance of a counselor.
- The program is designed to be completed in six to eight months.
- The use of a Catholic Bible is required for this program.
- Regular participation in Sunday Mass is also required for this program.
- Diocesan safe environment and BSA Youth Protection policies must be followed.
- Each Scout must complete the requirements in the Ad Altare Dei Scout Manual to be eligible for this Religious Emblem.
- Each Scout must successfully complete an Ad Altare Dei Board of Review to be eligible for this Religious Emblem.
- The Ad Altare Dei Youth Manual may be obtained from your local BSA Council Service Center Scout Shops, from the BSA Scout Shop, or from the NCCS Online Store. The Ad Altare Dei Youth Manual Electronic Version is only available in the NCCS Online Store.
- Identify a counselor. Ask your Scoutmaster/Advisor, pastor, parish administrator, Director of Religious Education, any member of the troop committee, or Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting if there is an emblem counselor in your parish or area. A trained Religious Emblems coordinator/counselor/moderator is required to work with young people pursuing this Religious Emblem. If you know of someone interested in becoming a trained Religious Emblems coordinator/counselor/moderator, ask them to contact your Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting to become trained.
- After you have selected your counselor, you must complete the application to begin working on this Religious Emblem program. The application is in the Ad Altare Dei Youth Manual. The approval application must be signed by the applicant, parent, counselor, Troop leader, and pastor.
- Attend all meetings. Actively work on the activities.
- All journal entries, reports, and written work should be legible and neat.
- Work through the Ad Altare Dei Youth Manual with your counselor using a Bible where appropriate.
- There are three parts to each step. When all parts of a step are completed, review the Ad Altare Dei Youth Manual with the counselor.
- Be prepared to share experiences with the Board of Review.
- Attend a retreat or Day of Recollection while working on the Ad Altare Dei program.
- Keep the Religious Emblems Coordinator informed of your progress.
- The counselor has the option of using either the printed youth manual or the electronic version.
- For an explanation of the new electronic Ad Altare Dei (e-AAD), download this PowerPoint presentation.
- Counselors for the Ad Altare Dei emblem should be approved in advance by their pastors and the Scout Chaplain or Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting.
- The Ad Altare Dei Counselor’s Guide (Publication Date: 2016) is an integral part of this program. It can be found in the NCCS Online Store.
- All Religious Emblem Counselors and Facilitators must have current BSA Youth Protection and meet diocesan safe environment requirements.
- Utilize the Religious Emblem Reference Manual.
- Share the Ad Altare Dei Youth Guide with young people planning to earn the Ad Altare Dei Religious Emblem.
- Counsel the participants when required, and in general facilitate (keep moving and on track) the general discussion.
- Hold all scheduled meetings.
- Virtual meetings need to follow the two deep leadership rules of safe Scouting. Counselors, please read this article from Virtus on Virtual Boundaries: Appropriate Online Safety Measures.
- The Ad Altare Dei Youth Manual is to be examined as the Scout proceeds through each step of the program. The counselor will sign and date the certification of completion for the step. Spiritual growth should be evident when progressing from step to step.
- Keep the Religious Emblems Coordinator informed of the youth’s progress.
- After all sections of the Ad Altare Dei Youth Manual have been completed, the counselor will contact your Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting to find out the schedule for the Ad Altare Dei Board of Review.
- The Scout will sit before the Board of Review.
- After Board of Review has been successfully completed, the counselor should contact your Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting for further direction concerning presentation instructions.
- Scouts who earn this Religious Emblem are also entitled to wear a BSA Religious Knot over their left pocket. Please consult with your Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting to determine how knots are presented in your area. If they are not presented with the Religious Emblems, then they can be purchased at your local BSA Council Service Center Scout Shop with proof that the scout received the emblem.
- Earning the Ad Altare Dei Award completes one of the requirements needed to apply for the annual NCCS College Scholarship program.
Ordering of Emblems
- Each diocese has one or two individuals who are designated to purchase Religious Emblems. Only these NCCS authorized submitters are allowed to order Religious Emblems for their diocese.
- Many dioceses present their religious emblems in their diocesan Cathedral, either in the context of a liturgy or a prayer service. The key is to make it special and memorable. View the Religious Emblems Reference Manual for presentation information to share with your Diocese.
- Please consult with your Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting to determine when and where the next award ceremony will be held.
- The religious knot should be presented at a Troop Court of Honor. However, it can be presented along with the Emblem.