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ARNAUDVILLE, Louisiana (LifeSiteNews) –– In two weeks, MANY families will descend upon the Mater Dolorosa Hall for an event unlike any other: the third annual Crusader Knights Congress for Altar, Culture and Trade.

“Altar, culture, and trade…make up the foundation, if you will, of a flourishing community somewhere in old Christendom,” organizer and radio host Mike Church told LifeSiteNews. “What was at the center of every little hamlet or small village in Christendom? Well, naturally, the church!”

Culture is the defense and promotion of the good, true, and beautiful, Mr. Church said, “all of which are included in the Church’s liturgy and are situated by the calendar throughout the year.”

The Congress will celebrate devotion to various saints and liturgical beauty – this is “all related to the altar part.”

“For the trade part of the Congress,” said Church, “we actually encourage people to bring their trade with them” and participate in “what we call the farmers’ market.”

“We don’t do this to help people grow their businesses,” he said. “We do this to help people gain an appreciation of the trades and skills that other people employ in these vocations. And what is the vocation at the end of the day? It’s a calling, something men are called to do and love doing.”

If people love what they do, they’ll “produce good, true, and beautiful and lasting things.”

“What we want people to take away from this is not that we need to take a trip back to the 14th century,” but rather “that the good parts, the beautiful parts of the 14th century will still be good and beautiful today and will lead to human flourishing.”

“And human flourishing in the sense that I am using it in is making communities holy, or at the very least seeking holiness and not this wretched pursuit of money and profits and acquiring tchotchkes and all the accoutrements that…[pass] today as ‘wealth.'”

Long-term human bonds can address ‘the problems and the horrors of modernity’

The Crusader Knights Congress was born from discussions between Church and a friend who works with him on his CRUSADE Channel Radio station. They had for “many years” been talking about “bringing people together to actually do something about the predicament that we’re in that is the current situation,” he told LifeSite.

“At first we talked about doing a conference, but this was in early 2021 and we were still reeling from what the cult of death had done to us during the corona doom show,” he said. “We took the suggestion of a conference and I came up with the idea that it shouldn’t be a conference at all – it should be a Congress, which sounds a lot more like a get together where you actually do things, instead of just parking people and chairs for a weekend where they listen to people endlessly drone on from the podium.”

The three-day gathering, of which this year LifeSiteNews is a title sponsor, will be located “in the heart of Cajun Country” during Crawfish Festival weekend. There will be seven oral presentations, but the meeting is far more than just listening to speakers.

Church said organizers want Congress attendees to “take away from the Congress is that we need to meet each other physically, be in each others’ presence, eat together, smoke cigars, and drink beer together, cook great Cajun food together, learning [from] people that have skills that maybe we don’t have.”

This must be done “in person, not online, not digitally, not so we can show off on some medium that will be something fleeting that you’ll forget about in 10 minutes.” Creating lasting, long-term human bonds and relationships means those bonds and relationships can be used “to address the problems and the horrors of modernity, but to address them from the point of view that the church has the answers,” said Church. “And you know what?…She always did. That’s what modernity has taught us and that’s an error that we aim to correct with these congresses.”

The congresses have been growing.

“The first year we had a total of 90 souls – that was about 65 adult attendees representing 43 kingdoms,” said Church. “Last year, we had 68 kingdoms which [totaled] almost 100 adults and 35 children…it was a very active and productive event.” The dynamic radio host calls households “kingdoms” because the men attending are representing “themselves as the head of their household.”

“At the end of the day a man is the head of his household, or the king of his castle!”

“So we had all of these men and families, and they they all came from very creatively named ‘kingdoms’ like Kinglandia like Saint JosephVille, like Walsingham West, like San Genarro,” he said, “and when that was added to the Congress it started to take on a very unique identity, and I think everyone was very pleased with that.”

‘We are the hardware and they have created the software that runs us’

Mr. Church said he thinks “that the greatest challenges that we face today are the same challenges that our ancestors faced; they just have a new patina, they just look different, and there’s a lot more of them.”

“The biggest challenge that we have to face is atomization, and this atomization has only become an 800-pound menacing gorilla as a result of digital media and the ‘digital lifestyle’ that Steve Jobs said he was launching with the advent of the, ironically enough, iPod,” which is now totally outdated.

And, “we have to deal with that oldest of old sins: pride!” continued Church. “And pride has taken on an apocalyptic-sized persona, if you will, today as a result of what I like to call, not social media, but social software. The big social media companies, the evil AI entrepreneurs, have created these social software [that] is designed to work and to achieve their desired results on us. You see, we are the hardware and they have created the software that runs us.”

“Catholics have to face this and be very wary of this when using social media,” he said.

“Catholics engaging in circular firing squads on social media platforms are all around us. What good, what human flourishing is coming from all this? So I think we need to face the challenge of less, slower, handmade, knowing where our food is grown and who grew it, is better! A friend of mine likes to put it this way: ‘we need to get comfortable being uncomfortable!’ I think that’s a great place for all of us to start and it really is what drives much of what we do at this year’s For Altar, Culture and Trade Congress.”

Tickets can be purchased at this link, which also contains more information about the event.