Boy Scout - Ad Altare Dei Religious Emblem


  • Before work on the workbook begins, the approval form must be signed by the applicant, parent, counselor, Unit leader, and pastor

  • A Boy Scout of Catholic faith

  • The content is designed for 13 and 14 year olds

  • Older Scouts may also work on the program

  • Active member of the Troop for six months

  • Completed sixth grade before starting the program 


  • The purpose of the Ad Altare Dei (to the altar of God) program is to help Catholic Scouts of the Roman 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 use of a Catholic Bible is required

  • The Scout should be advancing in Scouting (not mandatory)

  • Regular participation in Sunday worship

  • Involved in formal religious education program

  • Complete the requirements in the Ad Altare Dei Scout Manual

  • Successfully complete an Ad Altare Dei Board of Review

Program Completion

  • After all sections have been completed, the counselor will contact the (arch) Diocesan Chaplain or the (arch) Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting to find out the schedule for the AAD Board of Review

  • The Scout will sit before the Board of Review to determine:

    • Does he have a better understanding of his Christian commitment?

    • Has he learned to understand, support, and apply Christian principles to the problems of our day?

    • Has he thought about his vocation in life:  a vocation to the priesthood, religious life, marriage, or single life?

    • How has his relationship with his Church grown?

    • What is his attitude toward Scouting and the ideals of the program?

    • How does his relationship between Scouting and the Church compare?

    • As a result of the program, has the Scout grown in his understanding and living out his faith? (faith growth)


  • The religious emblem will be presented to the Scout a the annual Youth Recognition Ceremony

  • The religious knot should be presented at a Troop Court of Honor

  • Ideally, the youth will receive an invitation to be presented a certificate from Archbishop Beltran at the annual Youth Recognition Ceremony held in the Archdiocese each year.

Counselor Attributes

  • INTERESTED in youth and ready to be generous with time in helping others

  • Able to UNDERSTAND the Scout's development process and therefore able to ACCEPT them at their level

  • OPEN enough to listen to youth to permit them to initiate, decide, try, and even fail, of their own accord.  One who is not judgmental, but respectful  of their feelings and views.

  • FLEXIBLE and CREATIVE enough to be open to changes, who can adapt and understand rapid and continuous modification of youth ideas, modes, and cultures

  • LIKABLE and acceptable by the youth.  Not a stick in the mud!

  • Has a sense of HUMOR, enjoys life, and can laugh at themselves and with others, especially youth

  • KNOWLEDGEABLE, understands, and agrees with all of the teachings of the Catholic Church

  • COMMUNICATE by relating the teachings of the Catholic Church to youth.  Should be able to both speak and listen.  Should also have the ability to get others to talk.

  • SPIRITUALLY firm in their faith life and had the ability to share their faith openly and easily with youth.  Also be able to demonstrate, through their actions, the importance of their faith life to youth.

  • SENSITIVE to the youth's family situation and his personal life, particularly in regards to the teachings of the Church

  • OBSERVANT to intercept the signals youth project about their feelings on their faith and other issues

Counselor's Role

  • The Counselor needs to be approved in accord with local (arch) Diocesan guidelines and follow all Church and/or BSA youth protection guidelines

  • All religious Emblem Counselors and Facilitators must has current BSA Youth Protection Training, unless the local diocese (Eparchy) requires other specific youth protection training or certification

  • Use the AAD Counselor Guide

  • Counsel the participants when required, and in general facilitate (keep moving and on track) the general discussion

  • Hold weekly meetings lasting 60-90 minutes

  • Guide the Scout through the religious emblems program by:

    • Helping the Scouts experience Christ's deep love for them as individuals

    • Helping the Scout go beyond the surface answers of childhood

    • Showing them that your caring for them is not dependent on their behavior, but rather because you accept them as Christ accepts each of us

    • Encourage greater participation of Catholic Scouts in the religious programs of the Church

    • Promote the Spiritual component of Scouting within the parish and unit.  (A Scout is Reverent).

    • Help create an atmosphere with the unit conductive to the development of religious vocations

    • Provide guidance and assistance to non-Catholic boys in the unit and in the neighboring units, urging them to participate in the religious emblem program of their own church or synagogue

Scout's Roles and Responsibilities

  • Attend weekly meetings.  If a Scout misses more than 2 meetings, it should be determined if the Scout should continue with the program.

  • Work through the Ad Altare Dei Scout Manual with your counselor using a Bible where appropriate

  • Be prepared to share experiences at the Board of Review

  • Attend a retreat or Day of Recollection while working on the AAD program

Parent's Role

  • Support the Religious Emblems Counselor in his/her role

  • Support your son as he shares lessons with the family

Suggested Time Requirements

  • The program is designed to be completed in 6-8 months


  • Section 1:  Introduction

    • Chapter 1:  Sacraments and Sacramental  in Our Daily Life

  • Section 2:  The Sacraments of Initiation

    • Chapter 2:  Baptism

    • Chapter 3:  Confirmation

    • Chapter 4:  Eucharist

  • Section 3:  Sacraments of Healing

    • Chapter 5:  Reconciliation

    • Chapter 6:  Anointing of the Sick

  • Section 4:  Sacraments of Service (Commitment)

    • Chapter 7:  Holy Orders

    • Chapter 8:  Marriage