GREEN BAY — When Joseph Hable sets a goal, he sees it through. The honors he received at the 2015 diocesan Scout Mass, held Sept. 20 at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, serve as an example.
Hable’s path to these recent achievements began in second grade when he earned the Light of Christ medal, the first of four religious emblems for Boy Scouts presented by the Catholic Church.
“In third grade, I remember reading an article in the newspaper about two boys receiving religious emblems,” he said. “I thought it was interesting, so I set a goal to earn them all. I thought that they were all going to be as easy as the first two. The second two were quite a bit harder.”
In addition to the Light of Christ, he earned the Parvuli Dei (Children of God) and Ad Altare Dei (to the Altar of God) emblems leading to the fourth and final emblem, which was presented to him by Bishop David Ricken following the Scout Mass. Hable, the son of Mark and Cindy Hable of Oshkosh, received the Pope Pius XII emblem. By earning all four religious emblems, he was also honored with the Pillars of Faith Emblem. The award symbolizes that the four religious emblems are like pillars supporting the scout’s development and appreciation of the Catholic faith. Hable, an altar server at the Scout Mass, completed his work for the Pope Pius XII emblem in March.
“It involved a lot of discussion dealing with current issues facing the church and society,” he explained. “You have to type up a paper about a current issue that’s facing the church and the secular world, a paper about the pope and a couple other papers.
“There is a lot of research,” he added. “You have to read a lot of articles to prepare for the discussion.”
Hable, a sophomore at St. Lawrence High School Seminary in Mount Calvary, is also in the process of earning the rank of Eagle Scout. He has submitted the paperwork for his two-phase landscaping project which broke ground in the summer of 2014. Hable and volunteers built a reflection garden on the Sacred Heart Church site of St. Jude the Apostle Parish in Oshkosh.
“There are three pathways leading to a central area,” he explained. “I worked with a landscaper. He told me that you don’t want sharp turns, so the walkways are rounded. He also helped me pick out the plants.”
The pathways lead to a “heart” in the center in honor of Sacred Heart. A statue of St. Joseph will complete the project.
Hable is a member of Boy Scout Troop 641 of St. Raphael Parish, Oshkosh. He started in Scouting in first grade.
“I remember that first year as a Tiger Cub when every boy in your class joins,” he said. “Six from my class continued on into Boy Scouts after Cub Scouts. In Cub Scouts, you do a lot of activities. Boy Scouts is much different. I remember going on a four-day camping trip at Twin Lakes as a Webelo. Right after I joined 641, I was on a weeklong campout at Bear Paw where you put up your own tent. I enjoy it up there.”
Hable participates in troop activities when he is home on breaks from school. While at St. Lawrence, he is part of a venture crew. They meet regularly and do some camping.
“There is an area (at St. Lawrence) called the ‘potato patch,’” he said. “I believe that in the mid-’60s, for one year, they tried planting potatoes, but it didn’t work. The name, ‘potato patch,’ stuck. We have the green tents that almost all the troops have. We camp down there a couple times during the year.”
Hable is part of the music program at St. Lawrence. He plays percussion and guitar and is looking forward to the new band room, which is part of renovations following a fire in 2014.
Among the leadership opportunities Hable has embraced as a Boy Scout is serving as a chaplain aide on campouts. The position calls on him to lead a prayer service.
“You start with a reading, usually one that relates to what you are doing on the campout,” he said. “A lot of times I choose a reading from the Gospels or one of the Letters of Paul because not everyone is going to be Catholic. You then offer a short reflection, usually three to five minutes, and follow with a prayer. We usually say an ‘Our Father.’ You want a universal prayer that everyone knows.”
Hable has helped other scouts select readings and prepare their reflections. He values morning and evening prayer at St. Lawrence and enjoys Wednesday evening and Friday morning Masses at school.
“The first time I was home my first year, it was strange not having Mass on Friday morning,” he said. “You get into the schedule pretty quickly.”