Rome, Italy, Aug 2, 2019 / 14:06 pm
This week, as many as 5,000 Catholic scouts are walking historic pilgrimage routes to Rome that will culminate in a private audience with Pope Francis and a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Aug. 3.
Catholic scout troops are a European tradition that started in the early 20th century with Venerable Jacques Sevin, a French Catholic priest who was inspired by the potential of scouting, founded by his contemporary Robert Baden-Powell in England, for youth development.
Fr. Sevin founded the first Catholic scouting troop, consecrated to the Sacred Heart, in France in 1918.
The Scouts of Europe, a Catholic scouting organization recognized by the Holy See, was founded in the wake of World War II, built on the idea that scouting can help young people "discover that the true European legacy is the capacity to live together in peace and brotherhood around a common aim, Christ," according to the International Union of European Guides and Scouts - European Scout Federation.