A Light Burns Brightly for the Future of Catholic Young Men in America

September 9, 2021

by Cesar Franco

The camp was blessed with the presence of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue.

“By the rolls, quick, march!” With this order, the bagpipes and drums sound loudly as the half-awake young men rush to form outside their cabins for morning prayers. Preparing for the day’s spiritual battle, they pray the guardian angel prayer, the Saint Michael prayer and three Hail Marys for purity and a good death.  A new day begins at the 2021 Call to Chivalry summer camp in Abbeville, Louisiana.

Thirty-six young men participate in this ten-day camp sponsored by Tradition, Family Property—Louisiana. Games, inspirational talks and much prayer kept everyone engaged and left no one idle. “I can’t believe the camp is already over,” commented a participant from Colorado. “It feels like we arrived two days ago!”

Mothers Feedback

One mother from Montgomery, Texas commented, “Zack is telling so many wonderful stories of saints and holy heroes. He had an incredible time…! I am SO impressed with the work of TFP. You are such a blessing!” Another mother commented how happy she was that her sons brought back lessons learned at the camp. “Their table manners have improved and they came home very happy.”

This year’s camp theme was Catholic Italy. Thus, Thomas Drake, president of TFP Louisiana, told many edifying stories about Saint John Bosco, including some of the attempts by enemies of the Church to kill him. Afterward he showed a short video about the vision of Hell revealed to Don Bosco. He also related the saint’s vision of the Bark of Peter protected by two pillars during a storm. The two columns represented devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady. These two pillars are the same needed to persevere in the good fight today.

There were many wonderful talks taken from the treasures of Catholic Italy: stories of the Roman military martyrs; the Fall of Rome; the real St. Francis of Assisi; the devastating spiritual harm of the Renaissance that paved the way for Protestantism; St. Pius V and the Battle of Lepanto; the siege of Malta; the role of Papal pomp and grandeur; and the heroic life of Blessed Pius IX. These were just some of this year’s presentations. “I would recommend the TFP camp to any father,” commented a dad from Lake Charles, Louisiana who participated in the camp with his son.

 

Putting Chivalry to Practice

Everyone at the camp gathered at one of the busiest intersections in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Words about chivalry are cheap if not accompanied by deeds. With the recent news of the brutal persecution of the Cuban people by the anti-Catholic communist regime, the Call to Chivalry camp organized a rally to support the Free Cuba Now campaign of the American TFP. A special preparatory talk entitled St. Anthony Maria Claret, Cuba and Communism was given for the young crusaders and their Dads. Several boys volunteered to make signs for the rally. When the day finally arrived, everyone at the camp gathered at one of the busiest intersections in Lafayette, Louisiana. Like the crusaders of old, they endured great heat and fatigue to fight for the freedom of the Cuban people from communism.

The final day included a written test about the talks. After this challenge, those who made the cut competed in tournaments. Participants from the Lone Star State seemed to take all the prizes, including those of the ping-pong and chess tournaments.

The final medieval games took place in a field surrounded by flags of the different orders of chivalry. The boys wore medieval scapulars and were divided into two teams with Saint Dominic Savio and Saint John the Baptist as patron saints. The weather threatened to spoil everything since rain and thunder could be heard in the distance. Thankfully only a sprinkle fell and the clouds kept the temperature down. The games concluded with both teams racing to complete the obstacle course. The race entailed four from each team running with a canoe through obstacles and then paddling it across a lake to hand it off to the next four until everyone ran the course. But not so fast! Beware of ambushes with water balloons and foam tipped arrows!

The final event began with a rosary procession with the International Pilgrim Virgin of Our Lady of Fatima. Torches lit the way as the procession advanced with great devotion and solemnity to a banquet hall.

The grand final banquet.

Whole roasted pigs with cherries for eyes and apples in their mouths were brought out to the sound of the bagpipes. Conversations were lively and the ambience was one of a big family. Each participant received a memento of a crusader statue known in the TFP as the “Credo Knight.” This figure of religious conviction and courage will be a reminder to the young men of the graces and lessons received during their ten-day camp.

 

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