Ad Altare Dei (To the Altar of God)

The purpose of the Ad Altare Dei (to the altar of God) program is to help Catholic Youth 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 most important aspect of the program is that the Scout grows in their spiritual experience of their relationship to God and the church.
  • Registered youth in a Troop or Crew of the Catholic Faith.
  • Designed for youth 13-14 years old, older youth may use this program.
  • Active member of a unit for 6 months.
  • Completed 6th grade before starting the program.
  • Each Scout must have their own Activity Book. (Ad Altare Dei Youth Manual, Publication Date: 2014, or Ad Altare Dei Youth Manual Electronic Version depending on the class structure chosen by the counselor).
    • 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 [email protected] to become trained and for ceremony schedules.
  • Identify a counselor. Ask your Scoutmaster/Advisor, pastor, parish administrator, director if religious education, any member of the troop committee, or Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting if there is an emblem counselor in your parish or area.
  • 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.
  • Printed Emblem Manuals 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 by contacting [email protected] at the Diocese of Rochester. The Ad Altare Dei Youth Manual Electronic Version is only available at
  • 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 your 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 your progress.
  • The counselor has the option of using either the printed youth manual or the electronic version. 
  • For an explanation of the new e-AAD, please click here.
  • 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, Publication Date: 2016, 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, Creating a Safe Environment.
  • 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.
  • 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 the pastor or his representative signs the book and the application form, only the application form, order form and check need to be sent to: 

                                      Diocese of Rochester
                                      c/o  Mark Capellazzi
                                      Diocesan Liaison for Catholic Scouting
                                      1150 Buffalo Road
                                      Rochester, NY 14624

  • Once materials (application form, order form, and check) are received and approved, the religious emblem will be mailed to the scout unless otherwise specified by the person submitting the materials or the Diocesan Liaison for Catholic Scouting.
  • Details regarding the annual religious emblem ceremony will also be mailed to the scout at the appropriate time.
  • Scouts who earn this Religious Emblem are also entitled to wear a BSA Religious Knot over their left pocket. These knots are to be presented at the Parish level and will not be presented at the annual religious emblem ceremony.