Westborough – Olivier Whelan, a freshman at Westborough High School, was the recipient May 24 of the Pope Pius XII Award, the advanced Catholic Scouting medal, at St. Luke’s Church in Westborough. Whelan, a member of Westborough Scout Troop 100, was one of 16 boys who were recognized at a ceremony a week earlier in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. He and a fellow Scout from Marlborough, Isaac Niedzielski, met frequently over the past year with a counselor to complete a program focused on finding one’s vocation in life. They researched position papers on controversial religious issues, with Whelan advocating the ordination of women to the priesthood.
Candidates were also asked to embrace an act of service, and Whelan chose to visit retirement communities of priests and nuns to learn from their life experience and to recognize their own lifetime of service. To that end, he spent an evening at the Bethany Campus of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Framingham, and also paid a visit to the Regina Cleri home for retired priests in Boston.
The award is named in honor of Pius XII, the pope who guided the Church through the tragedy of World War II. In 1960 this award was first given to Explorer Scouts in order “to develop articulate Catholics.” Although sponsored by the Boy Scouts, girls are also eligible to study for the Pope Pius XII medal.