The annual Call to Chivalry summer camp was held again at the St. Louis de Montfort Academy in Herndon, Pennsylvania from August 10-20. The program was attended by dozens of young men from many different states.
The theme of the 2009 camp focused on the heroic deeds of the Cristeros, Catholic Mexicans who resisted Communist persecution under the presidency of Plutarco Elías Calles. Camp participants learned about Blessed Miguel Pro, a Jesuit priest who traveled throughout Mexico in disguise, secretly administering the Sacraments and celebrating Holy Mass. He was eventually caught and martyred, expiring with the cry “Viva Cristo Rey!” on his lips. The boys also learned about another valiant martyr, the 14-year-old Blessed José Sanchez del Rio.
Activities during the Camp
Each day began with a wake up call of bagpipes and drums. The boys lined up outside their rooms to start the day with a prayer to Saint Michael, followed shortly after by a detailed bedroom inspection. Next on the schedule was the singing of the Creed, the raising of the TFP standard and a procession to breakfast while singing “We Want God,” composed by the great Marian devotee St. Louis de Montfort.
After a hearty breakfast, illustrated talks on the virtues of Chivalry were given. The next activity: spirited sets of outdoor field games, stressing respect, courage, teamwork and leadership. There were excursions too. During a trip to Washington D.C., camp participants enjoyed a special exhibit on Imperial Spain at the National Gallery of Art, featuring medieval plate armor. Walking to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History a few blocks away, they admired the famed Hope Diamond.
At the Arlington National Cemetery, they watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The impeccable discipline of the Army Honor Guards, who, on entering the unit, promise to never use foul language or drink alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives, impressed the boys. The trip included a visit to the Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and concluded at to the Iwo Jima Memorial for the Sunset Parade of the US Marine Corps and its Silent Drill Team.
On other occasions, participants enjoyed canoeing, a trip to the paintball field where they spent hours engrossed in strategies, leadership lessons, courage, and thousands of paintballs.
Honored by Our Lady of Fatima
The most significant event of the camp was the arrival of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. In 1972, the statue wept miraculously several times in New Orleans, and her presence makes a profound impression on all who pray before her. During her visit to the Academy, camp participants organized an all night prayer vigil before the statue and a relic of the True Cross, a custom reminiscent of the Vigil of Arms in the Age of Faith when knights prepared themselves to enter the orders of Chivalry. Each boy gladly accepted his time shift.
The camp ended with Medieval games and a grueling obstacle course, followed by a beautiful rosary procession with Our Lady of Fatima’s statue and a fine dinner, featuring a whole roasted pig.
The boys all returned home happily taking with them not only good memories of a great time with friends but also the awareness of the need to stand up for the faith and a profound gratitude for receiving the grace to receive the historic miraculous statue of Our Lady of Fatima. We hope that these boys will always strive to have more devotion to Our Lady and a fervent love for the Holy Catholic Church.