90 Knights, Ladies Invested in Order of Holy Sepulchre

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Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, advised the 90 new knights and ladies that being a member of the papal order requires sacrifice, prayer, pilgrimage and charity.

The native New Yorker who is a former auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese, served as principal celebrant and homilist at the annual Investiture and Promotion Mass of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem Sept. 29 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The newly invested members received the revered Cross of Godfrey as a symbol of their commitment to being protectors of the faith.

In addition, 75 knights and ladies were promoted within the order.

Sponsored by the Eastern Lieutenancy of the U.S. Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the liturgy was part of a daylong celebration that concluded with an evening banquet at the Grand Hyatt New York in Manhattan.

A highlight of the cathedral rite was when the newly invested knights and ladies approached the steps of the altar and, after being greeted by Cardinal O’Brien, bowed. As the cardinal held a ceremonial sword and motioned with the blade, he tapped the knights’ shoulders with the sign of the cross. Ladies received a sign of the cross on the forehead. All newly invested knights and ladies were bestowed with the insignia of the order of their new rank, presented from a red gift box.

Cardinal O’Brien, in his homily, said the roots of the faith are deeply grounded in the city of Jerusalem and that today is a day to renew the apostolic oath.

An estimated 350 knights and ladies participated in the opening procession of the Mass.

Cornelius Begley, a knight commander invested in 2013, was joined by a fellow parishioner from St. Leo the Great in Lincroft, N.J., Joseph Manzi, one of the newly invested knights.

“This is a great day and an honor to see my friends and fellow parishioners making this commitment,” Begley told CNY. “It is important for every Catholic to serve their country and to serve a role. Serving the Church is our main focus. Protecting the Holy Land, the birthplace of Jesus, is important.” 

Manzi said he was honored to be nominated by his pastor. “Today was very emotional for me. It allows you to take a deep look at yourself and feel how much good you can really do for others and it’s our call and duty to do so.”

The roots of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem date to the 11th century and the first Crusades led by Godfrey de Bouillon. Men were granted knighthood for their actions in battle at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the hill of Calvary in Jerusalem.

The order is dedicated to fundraising for schools, seminaries, hospitals and orphanages. Its members pledge to aid the needs of Catholics in the Holy Land.

The Eastern Lieutenancy traces its founding to 1926, when the order was first organized in the United States. Vicki Downey is the first woman to head the Holy Sepulchre Order in the Eastern Lieutenancy. Under her guidance, it advocates for the preservation of the Christian presence in the Holy Land through financial support and pilgrimages.

Of the 90 new knights and ladies, 12 are from the Archdiocese of New York: Father Michael T. Martine, pastor of Holy Rosary parish, Staten Island; Michael Coppotelli; Thomas Hills; Vincent De Kytspotter; Vincenzo Lippiello; John Manetta; Peter O’Connor; John Viola; Maria Barba; Catherine Bischoff; Colleen Hills and Anna Malafronte.

Of the 75 knights and ladies promoted within the order, eight are from the Archdiocese of New York: Msgr. Anthony Marchitelli, pastor of St. James the Apostle, Carmel; Father Jacek P. Wozny, pastor of St. Stanislaus Koskta, Staten Island; Paul Beresford-Hill; Thomas D’Auria; William Van Ornum; Thomas Travers; Catherine Murray and Joan Stout.

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