Irish Society for Christian Civilisation held its annual Call to Chivalry Summer Camp throughout the second week of July, 2019.
The Call to Chivalry Camps for young men between 12-18 aim to instil in each of the participants manly virtues of courage, purity, Catholic militancy, etiquette and a love of our Catholic Faith. While immorality, blasphemy and impurity are rampant in this world, the Call to Chivalry Camps provide these young Catholics the chance to break away from the filth and to learn about their Faith in an uplifting ambience.
This year's summer camp took place amidst the scenic rolling hills of Co. Tipperary, just outside of the town of Kilsheelan, at Glencomeragh House.
Each day, the participants rose at 7am sharp to the sound of the bagpipes. In an age of widespread unbelief, these young men unabashedly proclaimed their Faith outside every day by singing the Creed. Afterwards they processed to the chapel for Mass, celebrated by Fr. Anthony Buckley, a priest from the diocese of Cork and Ross.
Breakfast was the next order of the day, followed by outdoor games and a talk. During free time after lunch, counsellors and participants alike, played board games, practised swordsmanship or held conversations in one of the many sitting rooms of Glencomeragh House.
Later in the afternoon, there were more games and talks followed by a big dinner. Many evenings, the campers lit a big bonfire and roasted marshmallows while listening to stories about saints. At 10pm every day, all gathered in the chapel to close the day with the Salve Regina.
The counsellors gave several inspiring talks throughout the camp on various topics. The talks, covering topics such as the Sacrament of Confession, true piety, how to debate and Charlemagne, inspired many conversations at the dinner table.
Mr Byron Whitcraft, a teacher at the St. Louis de Montfort Academy, a TFP school in America, gave a talk on clothing, arguably the most interesting meeting of the camp. The talk showed why it is important to dress in a dignified and modest manner and how clothing styles have evolved since the Middle Ages until our day. A great contrast can be seen today between the rich variety of beautiful clothing from the medieval period and current fashions which promote immodest and revolting styles of dress. Many later said it was their favourite talk.
Numerous special activities were interspersed throughout this busy daily schedule. An all time favourite – Treasure Hunt consumed much of the day two. Everyone split up into two teams: St. Oliver Plunkett vs. St. Patrick. After receiving the first hint the teams spread out and began searching for their clues. After much searching and cracking codes, both teams found their 15th and last clue at the same time. It was a neck and neck race but team St. Patrick discovered the chest of sweets first.
That same evening, after night prayers, an All Night Vigil of Arms was held in the chapel with Benediction and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Each participant took a 1-hour shift praying before the Blessed Sacrament. The vigil began at 10pm and finished with Holy Mass the next morning.
Perhaps the most exciting event during the camp was the hike. Following breakfast, the participants departed for the Comeragh Mountains arriving at the base of Knockanaffrin, a corruption from the Gaelic meaning "The Hill of the Mass."
Unknown to the hikers, some of the councillors had gone ahead and prepared a water-balloon ambush for them. A hail of water balloons descended upon the innocent hikers as they walked straight into the trap. They quickly discovered some water-balloon containers mercifully set aside for the counterattack. They charged the slope and with water balloons flying made it to the enemy hideout conquering it, thereby ended the attack.
After making peace, everyone then continued on to the summit where, despite the high winds, two participants unfurled a banner brought specially for the occasion. It read "Pray and Act to End the Sin of Abortion." There, from the top of Knockanaffrin, the summer camp prayed a Rosary in reparation for the legalisation of abortion in Ireland. One of the counsellors, who had brought his bagpipes, pulled them out and played some Irish tunes.
The following day, the camp participants attended a Public Square Rosary, held in the seaside town of Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. The Rosary Rally is a regular event organised by friends of Ireland Needs Fatima. About halfway through the Rosary, a man, clearly drunk, approached the Rally and began cursing, once even throwing a chunk of meat from the butchers at the Rally attendees. Eventually, the Garda arrived and calmed the situation, but not before the camp participants had seen what can happen when a person stands up for his Faith.
On the final day of the camp, the medieval games were held beginning with a simple but beautiful ceremony to honour the presence of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima on the field. The medieval games was the final test between the two teams. Many games were full contact and demanded teamwork.
In the afternoon, a falconer arrived to perform a hawking demonstration during which the participants had a chance to see a Harris Hawk in flight.
To close the summer camp, all the families of the camp participants were invited to attend a medieval banquet. When the banquet finished, a castle cake was brought out which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Each of the young men received a miniature medieval sword as a memento of the camp.
Though the camp has ended, for these young men, the battle has just begun. This camp was first and foremost a call to chivalry, a call to action and a call to virtue. It called these young men to practise chivalry, to defend the Church, to scorn impurity and love virtue. The Crusades of old may be over, but the Church and Christian Civilisation will always need strong, pure men.