In almost breathless terms St. Gregory describes the fourth century event he witnessed in his home city of Nyssa: “What have we seen! A light like a cloud of fire of the candles burning during the night. All night our ears have resounded with prolonged hymns and spiritual chants; it was like a river of joy running through our ears to our soul, and filling us with blessed hope”. This good bishop was describing his experience, many centuries ago, at the Easter Vigil, one similar to which many of you will participate in the coming days. This night’s Vigil, the Church insists, is “the greatest and most notable of all solemnities” and while all of us might not experience the grace of “a river of joy running through our ears to our soul” it is my prayer that the Easter Solemnity will “fill us all with blessed hope”. For as the Exultet of the Vigil proclaims: This is the night when Christ broke the prison-bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld…
The sanctifying power of this night dispels wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty. Do we, can we, Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem catch this uniquely Christian spirit of hope? Is our Faith alive in us enough, to fill our hearts with thanksgiving for this Glorious Mystery of Christ’s Resurrection?
As members of this Order, we have a special claim on this Mystery! In spite of the darkness, the wickedness and the hatred that threaten tocapture lives and hearts in the Holy Land, in the midst of it all there is an Empty Tomb – empty because Christ has emerged from it eternally and fully alive. Whatever the darkness there – or in our hearts – he announces the message of hope: “Do not fear! I have overcome the world!”
To accept the Cape of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is solemnly to commit ourselves to announcing that message of hope by the way of life we lead as Catholic women and men and by the steps we take to bring hope to the Holy Land. In the midst of this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, and at the high point of the Church’s liturgical year, Knights and Dames would do well to review the intensity both of
a) our personal faith and
b) our commitment to the goals of our Order.
As members of the Order we are seen in the public eye as Catholic leaders – and expected to be such by the Church, as evidenced by our personal lives:
- how intense is our sacramental life as seen in a notable devotion to the Mass and the Blessed Sacrament as well as in frequent participation inthe Sacrament of Reconciliation?
- are we growing personally in our knowledge of and full commitment to Christ teachings and discipline?
- how active are we in the programs of our parish and diocese, especially in carrying out the spiritual and corporal works of mercy?
We have also taken upon ourselves further commitments, especially as regards to the Holy Land:
- in what ways are we contributing to “breaking the bars of death” driving out hatred and fostering concord there?
- is our Lieutenancy up to date on the status and struggles of our Christian brethren there and what are we doing to bring these to the attention of our membership?
- when appropriate, do we wear our capes and insignia at local Church functions (e.g. Good Friday) and make available to fellow Catholics information about the Order and its spiritual and material support of our suffering fellow Christians there?
- what are we doing to attract younger members and to involve them in the activities of the Order? Along with our Governor General and others in our central staff, I am uniquely aware of the genuine striving for holiness on the part of members throughout the world.
With Patriarch Fouad Twal we are impressed and inspired by the zeal of so many in keeping the flame of Faith alive in the Holy Land. Thank you!
In establishing the Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis centered on Jesus and his mission then and now: The signs he works, especially in favor of sinners, the poor, the marginalized, the sick and the suffering, are all meant to teach mercy. Everything in him speaks of mercy. Nothing in him is devoid of compassion. May this be said as well of our Order of the Holy Sepulchre and each of our members.
A Blessed Easter Season.
Edwin Cardinal O’Brien
Welcome to the website of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in Ireland. Ours is an ancient Catholic chivalric order of Knighthood with the Pope as sovereign who appoints the Grand Master, currently His Eminence Edwin Cardinal O'Brien. It has its headquarters in Vatican City and is under the unique protection of the Holy See. The 30,000 members of the Order worldwide are organized either within Lieutenancies or Magistral Delegations, the most recent of which have been established in Latvia and the Czech Republic .
I hope you will take the opportunity to browse this site and familiarise yourself with our work, spiritual commitment and ceremonial. In September 2013, over 50 members and friends travelled on pilgrimage to Rome to join 3,500 members from all over the world to participate in the Year of Faith. Pope Francis, when he met pilgrims spoke on three basic elements of Christian life : journeying, building, professing. “Your journey,” said the Holy Father to members of the Order “is in history - in a world where the boundaries are ever-expanding, many barriers fall and our paths are tied ever more closely to that of others.” He encouraged the dames and knights to be true to their tradition of faithful, compassionate and loving service, as they work to build a brighter future for and with the struggling Christians of the Holy Land. “Believe in the redemptive power of the Cross and the Resurrection,” said Pope Francis, “in order to offer hope and peace. In a particular way, the Land of Jesus has so much need of it!"
In this Lieutenancy our 200 members meet regularly in Knock, Belfast and other locations, to participate in the Eucharist, to update themselve with developments in the Holy Land and to witness to the faith. In October 2016 we shall proceed on Pilgrimage to the Holy Land to meet "the living stones".
"Deus lo Vult - Mar is toil le Dia - God Wills It"
Charles A. Kelly
Fáilte go suíomh idirlín Oird Eachraigh Thuama Naofa Ierusalem in Éirinn. Ord ársa Ridireachta Caitlicí é seo, a bhfuil an Pápa i gceannas air. Eisean a cheapann an tArd-Mháistir, a Onóir an Cairdinéal Edwin O' Brien faoi láthair Tá a cheanncheathrú i gCathair na Vatacáine, faoi chosaint uathúil na Cathaoireach Naofa. Tá 30,000 baill den Ord ar fud an domhain, eagraithe in Ionadachtaigh nó Toscaireachtaí Máistriúla, arbh iad na cinn i Latvia agus Poblacht na Seice na cinn is óige.
Tá súil agam go nglacfaidh tú an deis an suíomh seo a iniúchadh agus eolas a chur ar ár n-obair, ár ngealltanas agus ár ndeasgnátha. I Meán Fómhair 2013, chuaigh 50 dár mbaill agus cairde leo ar oilithreacht chun na Róimhe chun a bheith páirteach le 3,500 baill ón domhan mór i mBliain an Chreidimh. Nuair a bhuail an Pápa Proinsias le hoilithrigh labhair sé faoi thrí eilimintí bhunúsacha an tsaoil Chríostaí, mar atá, turasóireacht, tógáil agus admháil. "Tá bhur n-aistear trín stair," adúirt an tAthair Naofa, "san domhan seo ina bhfuil na teorainn de shíor ag leathnú, titeann bacanna iomadúla agus tá ár gcosáin snaidhmthe níos dlúithe de shíor le cosáin dhaoine eile." Spreag sé na dámaí agus na ridirí bheith dílis dá dtraidisiúin de sheirbhís dhílis, thruach agus ghrámhar, fad is atá said ag saothrú chun todhchaí níos gile a bhunú do Chríostaíthe faoi leatrom san Talamh Naofa." Cuirigí bhur gcreideamh i gcumhacht slánaithe na Croise agus an Aiséirithe," adúirt an Pápa Proinsias, "chun dóchas agus síothcháin a thabhairt do Chríostaithe na Talún Naofa. I slí cinnte tá Talamh Íosa go mór inár ngá."
San Ionadacht seo tagann ár 200 baill le chéile i gCnoc Mhuire, i mBéal Feirste agus in áiteacha eile chun páirt a ghlacadh le chéile san Eocairist , chun iad féin a thabhairt suas chun data faoi imeachtaí san Talamh Naofa agus chun fianaise a dhéanamh leis an gcreideamh. I Mí Dheireadh Fómhair 2016, rachaimid ar Oilithreacht don Talamh Naofa chun teagmháil leis "na clocha beo".
"Deus lo Vult - Mar is toil le Dia - God Wills It"
Charles A. Kelly
Latest News: Photos from The Dublin Mass are now available. Click here for more...
|H.E. Charles Kelly with postulants and members in Knock||Members in Knock during the January Pilgrimage||Pilgrimage in Drogheda on 5 July 2015 at the Shrine of the Relic of the True Cross|
|Nicholas McKenna meeting the Holy Father September 2013||Overseas officials representative
in the Chapel in Maynooth
|Master of Postulants Comdt Frank Hearms with Patrick O'Sullivan, left and Thomas O'Keeffe|
|Recipients of Palms of Jerusalem Eamonn Walsh, Eamonn O'Dwyer, Greta Dorgan and Con Power with HE.E the Lieutenant, the Grand Master and H.E Bart McGettrick, member of the Grand Magisterium||The Grand Master with Bishop Raymond Field, His Excellency Enric Mas Lopez Lieutenant of Eastern Spain, Brian Cunneen, Charles Kelly, John Turley, John Reid, Judge Patrick Durcan
and Pat O'Sullivan
|Click for more photos...|
The Annual Vigil at Arms , Chapter and admission of postulants took place in St Patrick’s College Maynooth on 19 and 20 July 2013. During the course of the week-end 12 postulants were admitted as members by the Cardinal Grand Master, H.E. Edwin O’Brien. In addition to members of the Lieutenancy, the ceremonies were graced by the attendance of the Grand Prior, H.E. Sean Cardinal Brady, and His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya. There were official representatives present from the Grand Magesterium in the person of Professor Bartholomew McGettrick, His Excellency Dr David Smith the Lieutenant of England & Wales, Her Excellency Helene Lund, Magistral Delegate of Norway (see photograph above), His Excellency Enric Mas Lopez Lieutenant of Eastern Spain and Prof. Donata Krethlow-Benziger the Chancellor of the Swiss Lieutenancy.
In the course of his visit, H.E. Knight of the Collar Edwin Cardinal O’Brien looked forward to the Consulta of the Order which will take place in September in Rome. To enhance the spiritual dimension of the Order and its members in the 63 jurisdictions of the Order, he indicated that a spiritual director will prepare a spiritual programme. He announced that those members of the Order proceeding on Pilgrimage to Rome during this Year of Faith will be received in audience by Pope Francis. In the context of the overall Order they are seeking to encourage the admission of more lady members. To enhance the knowledge and message of the Order a communications director has been appointed. In the course of his Report to Chapter, H.E. Nicholas McKenna noted the admission in May 2013 of His Excellency Archbishop Charles Brown as a member.
Noting that the Order pays a significant portion of the Institutional Expenses of Latin Patriarch he remarked that many of the Westbank Mayors were educated in Latin Patriarch Schools. Stating that the purpose of the Order is strictly religious and charitable, he reported that the Irish Lieutenancy has sent approximately €175,000 to date to the Holy Land in 2013, which since the establishment of the Lieutenancy totals approx. €3m.
To keep up to date with developments in the Holy Land, please access the following websites:
Purposes of the Order
- To strengthen in its members the practice of Christian life, in absolute fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff and according to the teachings of the Church, observing as its foundation the principle of charity of which the Order is a fundamental means for assistance to the Holy Land.
- To sustain and aid the charitable, cultural and social works and institutions of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, particularly those of and in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, with which the Order maintains traditional ties.
- To support the preservation and propagation of the Faith in those lands, interesting in this work the Catholics scattered throughout the world, united in charity by the symbol of the Order, and also all Christian brothers.
- To sustain the rights of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land.
Aqaba on the shores of the Red Sea, Southern Jordan, see Mission in the Holy Land
Preamble to the Constitution
"You are to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1.8.)
Knighthood is defined as self-discipline, generosity and courage. Whosoever does not have the firm willingness to develop and deepen these traits in his life will never be able to become a True Knight. The zeal for self-renunciation, in the midst of this society of abundance, generous aid to the weak and those without protection, courageous struggle for justice and peace are the characteristic virtues of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
The tie with Jerusalem which is manifested in the Order and exacts responsibility for the Holy Places orients our desires toward the heavenly Jerusalem (Gal. 4.26)
The Holy Sepulchre is the symbol of the Passion shared with Jesus and also our hope in the Resurrection (Phil. 3.10.)
The Cross which we wear is not just jewellery but a testimony of our submission to the Cross of Christ. The form of the Cross which is the symbol of the Order brings to our minds the five wounds of our Lord as well as the suffering in the Holy Land with the loss of its own blood.
"The Pilgrim Shell" reminds us of the reality that we are all pilgrims on this earth, and recalls also our pledge to aid the needy.
Exemplary moral conduct and true Christian feeling are the prime requisites for admission to the Order. The practice of Christian faith must be shown in the heart of one's family, at work, in obedience to the Holy Father, and in involvement in Christian activities both in one's own parish and in one's Diocese.
This distinction of the affiliation with the Order requires of its members:
- Religious devotion.
- Participation in the activities of the Church.
- A lay apostolate, placed at the service of the Church.
- Diligence of the ecumenical spirit, above all by means of active interest in the well-recognized problems in Palestine.
The characteristic feature of the Order consists of its pledge to the Holy Places of Jerusalem and its obligations toward the Church in Palestine. It is not possible to stress sufficiently that the charitable work of the Order must have its roots in the spirituality of its members.
Here is the latest version of the video recording of the Investiture Ceremony 2013