Every year, Irish Society for Christian Civilisation hosts Call to Chivalry summer camp for boys aged 13-18, teaching the boys about the role of Chivalry in today’s world, and how to be a Catholic gentleman. This year’s camp featured inspiring talks, amazing outings, daily Mass, and a pro-life campaign against the sin of abortion.
Daily at the camp, talks were given to teach the boys about examples of saintly chivalrous heroes and inspiring historic battles. For example, one of the talks was given on the great crusader king, Saint Ferdinand III, King of Castile and Leon. All throughout the 1200’s this great saint defeated Moslems in Moorish Spain, until his final victory in Seville, by which he took one of the last major powers out of the hands of the Moslems in Spain. His incorrupt body rests in the Cathedral of Seville, along with his sword and some other relics of his.
Another talk was on the holy life of Saint John Bosco. Saint John Bosco was a saint in the 1800’s who taught the boys at his school how to become saints by having devotion to Our Lady, along with frequent reception of the Sacraments. These, along with many other talks at the camp, helped the boys at this year’s camp to further their enthusiasm for the Catholic faith by giving them examples of virtuous people to look up to, along with inspiring stories of heroism in history.
Along with the interesting talks, young men at the camp also were able to experience the beauty of Ireland by visiting places of Catholic and cultural importance. The staff and participants of the camp hiked twelve kilometres to Glendalough Cathedral in honour of Saint Kevin. Although this hike was difficult and tiring, enthusiasm was never lost by keeping in mind the importance of the destination. On the way, songs were sung, bagpipes were played, and rosaries were prayed. We prayed one rosary while hiking, and another above Saint Kevin’s bed, which is a tiny penitential cave on the vast mountainside. The view from this area was astonishing. With cliff faces, lakes, rivers, hills, the ocean, and a former monastery in sight, one boy said “This has got to be the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.”
Another location the summer campers went to was the Rock of Dunamase in County Laois. Upon arrival, we could see the ruined castle on top of the hill, with one of the sides having a splendorous stony entrance leading to the main section of the castle. On the other three sides of the hill are sheer cliff faces, which one must be careful not to walk too close to.
While approaching the entrance something unexpected happened to the summer campers: an ambush! Little to their knowledge, a few people had left the campsite early to prepare for an ultimate face-off inside the ruined castle grounds. With foam swords, two teams, under the patronage of Saint Ferdinand and Saint Louis the IX respectively, fought for over an hour for the title of champion in this medieval area. With the red TFP standard flying and bagpipes playing, the sight was extraordinarily beautiful. This physical battle prepared the camp participants for the spiritual battle that was to follow.
After the sword battles in the castle, a more spiritual battle took place on the street. In front of a beautiful statue of Mary Immaculate in Market Square, Portlaoise, camp participants and TFP members held a public square rosary rally against the sin of abortion. Two rosaries were prayed, with hymns being sung in between each decade. While most people were pleased with the campaign, a few unhappy onlookers gave us signs of disapproval including thumbs-downs and even a couple of middle fingers. Overall, the campaign was blessed by Our Lady. One boy said he was praying for water (as he had not brought any with him), when just that moment a couple arrived with enough bottles of cold water for every camp participant to have at least one. In thanksgiving for the graces bestowed by the action of the campaign, that night, an all-night vigil with a Relic of the True Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ present was held. Each one of the boys gave at least one hour of their sleep up to pray and meditate in front of this most Holy Relic, answering Our Lord’s plea, “Couldst thou not watch one hour with me?”.
The 2023 Call to Chivalry Camp inspired the young men present to an increase in the practice of manly virtues such as courage, purity, and Catholic militancy. Although people nowadays might ridicule these virtues, it does not matter. Our Catholic faith teaches us that these are the very virtues needed to fight the immorality, blasphemy, and impurity in our chaotic world.