With God there are no accidents, and it is not by chance that the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem gathered on Saturday, October 14 to celebrate its annual Mass and Investiture Ceremony, just one week after the attack in Israel.
The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, also called the Order of the Holy Sepulchre or Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, is a Catholic order of chivalry. It is represented in all Catholic countries and has a hierarchical structure. The Order is divided into Lieutenancies, which in turn are divided into Sections. If appropriate, the sections may be divided into delegations.
The Order of the Holy Sepulchre dates back to the First Crusade, and its mission remains the same: to defend the Holy Land and the holy places and the Christians who reside in them. One of its knights said it best: "Some Catholics pray, some evangelize, some give to the poor in support of the Church, but we, as knights, are called to do all three. Christians living in the Holy Land depend not only on the financial support of generous members, but on their ardent prayers and on keeping the presence of Jesus alive."
Union and love for the Church
Omnes spoke with Deacon John Leo Heyer II, ecclesiastical master of ceremonies for the Eastern Lieutenancy of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. Deacon John is the pastoral associate of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and St. Stephen's parish in Brooklyn, New York, and is involved in parish stewardship and Italian ministry. He, along with the Knights, Dames, Bishop Sullivan, His Excellency Count Leonardo di Madrone, His Eminence Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Grand Master of the Order, and His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke Eduard were present.
Each year, the Order invites new members. This past Saturday they did so and "promoted new members who are growing in their devotion and philanthropy to the order and to the causes of the Holy Land," said Deacon John. The members are united in their mission and love for Mother Church and the holy places and people of the Holy Land." The deacon also spoke of the timing of the day, which was met with sadness and concern for Christians living throughout Gaza, for "our Jewish brothers and sisters, as well as those of Muslim faith...". He also remembered the Holy Family parish and said it was in his prayers.
Commitment to the Holy Land
The Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and members of the Order are dedicated to "spiritual life," which is dedicated to the people living in the Holy Land, financial commitment to support the people in the Holy Land," and support for their local parishes.
The Order supports all hospitals, parishes and schools in Jerusalem, Jordan, Palestine and the Syrian area. With the financial support of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, the schools are open and able to thrive. They fund the 44 schools, enabling Christians living there to receive a Catholic education. In addition, they assist in social services and pastoral programs.
St. Alphonsus Liguori reminded us that "whoever prays is certainly saved...". The mission of the Order and the "call" of its members is a commitment to "sustain Christian life where Jesus lived, died and rose again... and we pray for the Christian presence in the Holy Land," said Deacon John. In addition, pilgrimage is also part of the goal. Members visit each year, invite others to see the holy sites and encourage them to come closer to their faith and the home where Our Savior lived, died and preached "love one another." The deacon spoke of the importance of tourism, as the Christians who live there depend on it, and the need to "have a living Church" in the place where Christianity began, our Mother Church, which is Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Cross
The Order "has always benefited from the protection of the Popes, who over the centuries have reorganized it, increasing and enriching its privileges." And the Apostolic See considers the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem a "central entity of the Church," Bishop Filoni said. It is a pontifical institution of very ancient origin "that does not seek profit, material conquest or political purpose." He also reminded those in attendance: "The only way for peace to have a chance in the Holy Land is for the Church to remain there to do what it does best....".
In Bishop Filoni's reflection, he pointed out that his institution is not without cultural, geographical and linguistic limitations. He also spoke of Our Lord's first public miracle at the wedding feast of Cana and said, "Today there is no bread of peace." The Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem always has the Holy Land in its mind, and they carry "the Cross of Jerusalem". Today, they hope for another miracle and the help of Our Lady of Palestine to bring peace and healing to all where the "Lord espoused us to himself and united our humanity to his divinity... to the Holy Land, the place where he created his first family, his Church... the Mother of all Churches".