Cardinal Dolan stressed the importance of the Holy Sepulchre or empty tomb as the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem’s Eastern Lieutenancy of the United States welcomed 56 new members and promoted 88 members in a ceremony at Mass Oct. 16 in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
“Level with me, everybody,” said Cardinal Dolan in opening his homily. “Does it ever bother you that we are named after a tomb, a casket, a sepulchre? For crying out loud at least the Knights and Dames of Malta are called after a country, the Knights of Columbus after a grand discoverer but to be named after a tomb, a casket, a sepulchre, what’s that all about?”
Cardinal Dolan explained this, and used stories including one from the spring of his second year in major seminary at Rome where he had the opportunity to visit the Soviet Union and the tomb of Vladimir Lenin. The tour guide thought the visit would be the highlight of the trip for the seminarians because she heard the goal of pilgrimage in the Christian world is seeing the Holy Sepulchre.
“One of the seminarians said, ‘Ah, but that tomb is empty.’ That's what this is all about, everybody, an empty tomb,” Cardinal Dolan said.
Cardinal Dolan added that people are being pulled into despair and discouragement, which causes them to lose hope. He used the Covid-19 pandemic; the political division in the United States; and the threats to marriage, family and the sacredness of human life as examples.
“Lord, we whisper, to whom shall we go,” said Cardinal Dolan in citing his own episcopal motto. “Well, my brothers and sisters, we go to that empty tomb. We go to the Easter sunrise. We go to the Holy Sepulchre. For this risen Savior has conquered sin and Satan and death, and He has assured us that He is with us always until the end of the world and even the gates of hell shall not prevail against us.”
“So, you wear your capes, your caps, your medallions, your sword with conviction and confidence. He gives us unbeatable hope, and we’re commissioned to bring it to the world. If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.”
Before the reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans and the Gospel from John, Cardinal Dolan led a ceremony to invest new members and promote others to the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
“Be therefore faithful in generous Knights and Dames of the Order of Holy Sepulchre, known how to preserve the great richness of the values of the past while living the present intensely committing yourselves to today looking toward the future opening horizons of hope to give a more human face to society and to make Christ the very heart of the world,” Cardinal Dolan read from the declaration that took place before the act of investiture.
Vicki Downey, lieutenant of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, closed the Mass by leading the Prayer of the Knight and Dame.
“Let Your Spirit descend upon us all, the Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre, so that it may render us as convinced and sincere ambassadors of peace and love among our brothers and sisters, and, especially, among all those who think they do not believe in You,” she said.