The Irish Society for Christian Civilization had its first summer camp for boys, July 13-19, at the beautiful Cistercian abbey of Mount Saint Joseph, Roscrea, County Tipperary. It was inspired by similar camps that have been held by TFPs in the U.S., U.K. and Brazil.
When possible, boys 12-18 were accompanied by their fathers who attended and helped with camp supervision and organization. Camp participants came from Ireland, England, Scotland and France, while counselors came from as far away as Spain and Portugal.
The camp began on the evening of July 13, the ninetieth anniversary of the third apparition of Our Lady in Fatima. Activities were held in a college attached to the monastery, the abbey’s guesthouse and all throughout the complex’s extensive grounds.
The busy schedule included daily Mass and Benediction, recitation of the rosary, talks, outings and games.
The boys showed a lively interest in the talks and many parents expressed satisfaction after seeing how much their sons had learned in a week. The lecture titles give good idea of topics covered.
These included: “The 90th Anniversary of the Apparitions at Fatima,” “What is Christian Civilization?,” “700 Years of Anti-Christian Revolution,” “Our Lady of the Counter-Revolution,” “Father Edgeworth: Irish Noble and Saintly Priest – Opponent of the French Revolution,” “Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Brown Scapular,” “The Influence of the Cultural Revolution in our Daily Lives,” “The Origins and Daily Duties of Monastic Life,” “The Battle Between Good and Evil in Irish History,” and “The True Physiognomy of the Saints.”
Outings and Historic Visits
One day, the group visited historical sites in the town of Roscrea, including Roscrea castle. Another day, they went to Cahir Castle, the Rock of Cashel and Holy Cross Abbey. At this marvelous monastery, camp attendees and counselors venerated and were blessed with a relic of the Holy Cross that is kept there.
The camp’s final excursion was to Mount St. Joseph’s Abbey, itself, where participants learned about monastic life, past and present.
Sports and Games…When Possible
Due to Ireland’s traditionally rainy weather, outdoor activities were hampered a bit. However, it would take more than a daily soaking to dampen the young men’s unquenchable vitality.
Fortunately, the camp schedule was sufficiently flexible to allow for the weather. During windows of dry weather, the boys engaged in unconventional “medieval games,” which emphasized pageantry, chivalry and idealism.
Forming Catholic Men
The entire camp strove to instill these same qualities of chivalry and idealism in its participants and teach the boys the importance of the decisions they make in life and the actions they take.
It strove to show them that they can influence others, their surroundings and even the course of history for good or bad, depending on whether they remain faithful to the Church. The meetings and outings brought this idea to life, with historic examples of men who forever left their mark on history.
On the last evening, there was a large banquet attended by course participants and family members. After the meal, the official program ended with a rosary procession through the grounds of Mount St. Joseph’s and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The young men and their families were delighted with the fruits of the Summer Camp.