Martin Hafner2Dear Sisters and Brothers in Scouting!

A voice behind me said: “Kennst du mich noch?”[1] It was a nice evening in early May 2018 in the city centre of Warsaw. I turned around and looked into the face of a man of around 35 years, walking on crutches. Confusion. After a while I said: “Er … no …” “I am Mariano.” I answered immediately: “But of course! We camped together in Rome in 2000!” Mariano said: “Some minutes ago, I saw a scout from Luxemburg with the FSE uniform. So, I came over to see if there is somebody else I know…” Indeed, he was successful.

Change of scene: Fátima, Portugal, 2017. Celebrations of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady. I am standing in a crowd of probably one Million pilgrims waiting for the Holy Father. We are a bit more than 50 Guides and Scouts of Europe having the Baussant with us. Suddenly, two young men stand in front of me saying: “Hi Martin! Nice to meet you here!” Confusion. “We just saw the Baussant and came over to see if there is somebody, we know…” Incredible! I was meeting two scouts of a former troop in Germany. Probably more than 10 years after they had left from Europe in order to go back home to the USA. Marvellous!

And you, Guide of Europe, Scout of Europe? Do you always remember to wear your uniform according to the rules? Are you always aware that your uniform is practical, but also a symbol of our unity and brotherhood? Even across the borders of space and time. More than 60 years ago, your (great-)grandfathers have already worn the same uniform. You received it from the hands of the chiefs on whose shoulders you stand now. You are the one to pass it on to those who come after you. The uniform is one of our means as baptized to rebuild the bonds within Christianity and among all men and women of good will, that are so often, too often, disunited. For the Guides and Scouts of Europe, the uniform serves to true conversion and reconciliation in Christ.

Wear your uniform consciously, courageously, publicly and you will live similar wonders like me in Fátima or Warsaw. Maybe today, maybe in 25 years. In any case, once you will discover how many souls could get saved by our Lord, because you wore the uniform.

Martin Hafner, Federal Commissioner

[1] German: „Do you still know me?“

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