Ad Altare Dei

Ad Altare Dei

About the Emblem

The purpose of the Ad Altare Dei (to the altar of God) program is to help Catholic Boy 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.

Program Objectives

  • The most important aspect of the program is that the Scout grows in his spiritual experience of his relationship to God and the church.


  • Registered Boy Scout of Catholic Faith.
  • Designed for youth 13-14 years old, older boys may use this program.
  • Active member of the Troop for 6 months.
  • Completed 6th grade before starting the program.


  • Each Scout must have his own Activity Book. The book is designed for the youth to work on with the guidance of a counselor.
  • The program is designed to be completed in 6-8 months.
  • The use of a Catholic Bible is required for this program. You will need to have one to use.
  • Regular participation in Sunday worship.
  • Diocesan and BSA Youth Protection policies must be followed.
  • Complete the requirements in the Ad Altare Dei Scout Manual.
  • Successfully complete an Ad Altare Dei Board of Review.
  • A trained religious emblems coordinator/counselor/moderator is required to work on religious emblems. Contact your Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting to become trained and for ceremony schedules.

Getting Started

  • Identify a counselor. Ask  your Scoutmaster, pastor, parish administrator, director if religious education, any member of the troop committee, or Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting if there is a emblem counselor in your parish or area.
  • All counselors must be trained and certified through the local Catholic Committee.
  • After you have selected your counselor, you must complete the application to begin working on the  Emblem program. The application is in the Ad Altare Dei Emblem book. The approval application must be signed by the  applicant, parent, counselor, Troop leader, and pastor.
  • Emblem Books may be obtained most economically and quickly from your local BSA Council Service Center Scout Shops. Alternatively, they can be obtained directly from BSA Supply at “” or through most Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting.

Please Note: The top book cover is the pre-2012 edition. The bottom cover is the 2012 edition. Either is acceptable for the program.

Scout’s Role

  • Attend weekly meetings. Actively work on the activities.
  • All journal entries, reports, and written work should be legible and neat.
  • Work through the Ad Altare Dei Scout 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 Emblem book with the counselor.
  • Be prepared to share experiences at the Board of Review.
  • Attend a retreat or Day of Recollection while working on the AAD program.
  • Keep the Religious Emblems Coordinator informed of his progress.

Counselor’s Role

  • Counselors for the Ad Altare Dei emblem should be approved in advance by their pastors and the Scout Chaplain or Catholic Committee in Scouting. The Religious Emblem Counselor’s Guide is an integral part of this program and contains the necessary resources for anyone.
  • All religious Emblem Counselors and Facilitators must have current BSA Youth Protection and Local Diocese Youth Protection training.
  • Use the AAD Counselor Guide. Use Religious Emblem Reference Manual (PDF).
  • Counsel the participants when required, and in general facilitate (keep moving and on track) the general discussion.
  • Hold weekly meetings lasting 60-90 minutes.
  • The youths Emblem book 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.

Program Completion

    • After all sections have been completed, the counselor will contact the 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.
    • After Board of Review has been successfully completed,  the counselor should contact the 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 local 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.


  • The first rule in preparing recognition ceremonies is to keep them simple but impressive. The second is to remember that the ceremony is for the youth. 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. See Religious Emblems Reference Manual for presentation helps for your Diocese.
  • The religious knot should be presented at a Troop Court of Honor. However, it can be presented along with the Emblem.
  • Religious Emblems Reference Manual and forms.

Ordering of Emblems

  • Each diocese has one or two indivduals who are designated to purchase religious emblems. Only these NCCS authorized submitters are allowed to order emblems for their diocese. Please consult with your local Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting to determine when and where the next Award Ceremony will be held. NCCS authorized submitters submit orders using the Religious  Emblem Order Form.