The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) runs camps for Catholic boys every year. Forming young men into virtuous knights who promote the social Kingship of Christ in a chaotic world and stand up for the perennial teachings of Holy Mother Church is the goal.
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The Camp that Should Not Have Existed
However, Covid restrictions made it look impossible to hold the annual Call to Chivalry Camp. But as doors seemed to close, Our Lady opened a window. Restrictions eased. What appeared to be impossible became possible, but only with a month to prepare! But within days, the camp was booked. And dozens of boys and fathers enrolled for the event hosted at the TFP-run Saint Louis de Montfort Academy from June 12-19, 2021.
What a Day at Camp Looks Like
Each day started with the crisp sound of bagpipes, followed by a prayer to Saint Michael led by one of the TFP members. Participants tidied their rooms for inspection. A bell system helped remind the boys where they had to be throughout the day: Rosary, meetings, meals, activities, and games. After inspection, the boys went outside to sing the beautiful profession of the Catholic Faith, the Creed.
Campers walked in procession to the large dining tent singing We Want God for breakfast, where everyone engaged in lively conversation, talking about Catholic heroes, history, past chivalry camps, meetings they heard, and about their home states.
The daily Rosary came next, followed by an exciting talk. Favorite talks included the life of Saint Pius V, the Battle of Lepanto, the Siege of Malta, the Medieval Order, Saints and Martyrs, and many more. The meetings gave the boys examples of holy courage to follow.
Let us not forget the excursions. There was a campout and a hike at the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. The young men also had the chance to participate in a TFP Student Action street campaign against abortion in Harrisburg, Penn. after which they went to TFP headquarters for delicious homemade pizza cooked by one of the attending fathers, Domenick Galatolo.
How to Enkindle the Spirit of a Knight
To be a knight is synonymous with being a man. To enkindle a chivalrous spirit, the boys attended inspirational talks, where they learned about manly role models. In a meeting about Lepanto, given by TFP member Joseph Jordan, the young men learned about Don Juan of Austria, who encouraged his warriors to be brave. Before the great sea battle, he said: “There is no paradise for cowards,” which is true for anyone striving for sanctity. Also, in the meeting, they heard how Saint Pius V called on Catholics to pray the Rosary for victory against the overwhelming Moslem navy, and how Our Lady miraculously interceded for them.
Another presentation about the Swiss Guards featured their militant Catholic spirit and disciplined character, including a video interview with a commander who revealed their most powerful weapon: the Rosary.
Singing crusader songs gave the boys enthusiasm to fight for God. One of their favorite songs was a ballad about Our Lady and the Battle of Lepanto. By the sheer volume of their singing, it was easy to tell that the young men wanted to be modern-day knights.
The boys could merit points for their teams by doing virtuous acts or answering surprise quizzes on the meetings they heard. This is how young knights are formed.
The Fight for the Next Generation
Youth face so many snares. An entire culture attempts to break into their Christian defenses, undermine their stability, and shake their Faith. The devil is out to ruin boys’ souls through bad friends, video games, drugs, computers, immoral movies, bad music, and other insidious devices. The average Catholic boy grows up in a world that conspires against his eternal salvation. Considering this dark picture, one could solemnly say, “We are surrounded.”
However, there is hope. Because the future belongs to those who have Faith.
Therefore, despite the grim circumstances of the world, we should recall the marvelous interventions of God throughout history. In his talk about the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, TFP member Thomas Schneider emphasized the role of Divine Providence. Catholic knights were surrounded, outnumbered, and outgunned by Mohammedans. Faced with such adversity, they nevertheless stayed faithful to Our Lord and chose to fight rather than give in. Trusting in God and devoting themselves to resist the Moslem advance, they knew their resistance would protect all of Christian Europe from invasion. Their extraordinary sacrifice was blessed with victory by Providence.
Today, the Call to Chivalry Camps seek to resist the devil’s siege upon souls and nations. By strengthening the next generation, more men will rise up against evil and be ready to proclaim the truth will holy boldness. We can trust and hope in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, whose pure foot crushes the head of the serpent. May Our Lady bless this effort and hasten the day of her total triumph over the powers of darkness.