The Community of the Servants of Jesus and Mary was established in 1994 by the Apostolic See with the express mandate of caring for Scouting groups. The SJM grew out of the Scouting movement in Germany, and in particular the Catholic Scouting Association of Europe, and today as previously many of the vocations come out of scouting groups. Therefore a special focus of the pastoral work of the SJM lies precisely in this kind of youth work.
"Scouting nourished by the Gospel is a place of strong Christian proposal, a true spiritual and moral maturation as well as a genuine path of holiness" Pope Benedict (2007).
The pedagogy of scouting, which was developed at the beginning of the 20th Century by Lord Baden-Powell, remains today an effective method to support young people in their physical, intellectual, social, and religious development as independent Christian personalities. After all, a practiced faith and grace do not replace nature, but build upon it. A good religious education therefore makes the development of the natural abilities of young people by no means unnecessary. Precisely here does the scouting pedagogy apply: the early passing-on of responsibility (the principle of subsidiarity), the simple life in nature camping and hiking, the experience of genuine camaraderie and friendship, the experience of the deep joy of a voluntary good act (leading to service), the mutual incentive in the striving after high ideals (various mottos), and not least the common prayer in a living community of faith - all these things promote a holistic development in the full sense of the word.
The most important element of the pastoral care of a youth group is the accompaniment of the groups on their journeys and at camps. In line with the founding idea of the Catholic Scouting Movement, a practiced faith is an assumed element of the life of the group: Just as one hikes and eats, sings and laughs, builds and helps, works and plays together - so does one also pray together. Also when the personal relationship to Christ is most important, so too does faith remain not simply a private matter, but is likewise an activity in community. This expresses itself at group undertakings through an age-appropriate practise of prayer. The yardstick is - after a saying of Fr. Hönisch – "a quite normal prayer-life in a quite normal Catholic family": the daily prayers like morning, evening and table prayers, when possible the celebration of the Mass and/or the Rosary. The faith is imparted in the context of Catechesis and talks, current questions are addressed, a balanced formation of conscience is imparted, and the reception of the Sacrament of Penance is offered. Communal life with young people on journey offers numerous opportunities for personal talks. During the years, the ministry is continued through regular celebrations of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with an entire local group, catechesis in groups, pilgrimages etc.
A short film presentation about the Catholic Scouting Association of Europe, you find here.