By Gregory Jones, summer camp participant
“Youth was not made for pleasure but for heroism.” This was one of the many slogans taught to us at 2022 Call to Chivalry camp in Ireland. The camp was six days long from July 12th to 18th.
These camps call young men to learn about the Catholic Faith and Christian civilisation. Each Call to Chivalry camp has a theme, which all the activities during the camp revolve around. This year’s theme was about the missionary spirit. Different speakers gave talks on the saints and history to explain this theme. The examples of saints that enbibed the missionary spirit along with those who were not saints that attacked it. Of course, there was a talk on St. Patrick and another talk described the real St. Francis. Another talk showed how the Protestant revolution generated a whole series of attacks on the Church and Christian Civilisation.
At the Call to Chivalry camp the games are totally unique from Shield Ball to French Football to Capture the Flag. Each games stressed teamwork and good sportsmanship.
We did several outings during the camp. On Friday, we hiked Knocknaffrin mountain, trying to discover the Mass rock, but even after two hours of searching, we could not find it. Instead, the priest celebrated Mass on a portable table near to where we thought the Mass rock should be. Before Mass on Sunday, the camp went to the Medieval Museum of Waterford to learn more about Ireland’s Catholic history. After Mass, we prayed a public rosary rally for the end of abortion in Ireland and around the world.
Each day started at 7am with bagpipes. The priest was able to celebrated Mass for us four out of the six days of the camp. After breakfast, everyone prayed the rosary either outside in front of a statue of Our Lady or in the chapel. Before going to bed, we would sing the Salve Regina to end the day.
Several evenings after dinner there was a campfire. At the campfire, depending on whether you had a sweet tooth or not, we could roast either marshmallows or German sausages. Then came the stories. The stories ranged from the life of St. Paul to the fiery account of St John Bosco going to Hell in one of his dreams and Fr. De Smet, a missionary among the Rocky Mountain Indians.
The Call to Chivalry Summer Camp taught us many things – teamwork, Catholic history, especially Ireland’s Catholic history, and our Faith. Whether it was at games or on an outing, we were always reminded to behave as Catholics would behave, no foul language, honest and courageous in the face of the enemy. Most of all, we were taught that true happiness only comes when we dedicate ourselves to Our Lady and Her Son. As we so often shouted during games, youth was not made for pleasure, but for heroism!