Investiture Into Holy Sepulchre Is ‘Public Profession’


Stepping through the bronze doorways of St. Patrick’s Cathedral recently was like traveling back in time to the First Crusade, when knights proudly donned the emblem of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre as they protected the tomb of Jesus.

Eighty-one men and women were invested as Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem’s Eastern Lieutenancy of the United States Sept. 27 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Twenty-three Priest Knights and one Knight Commander with Star were also installed. In addition, 107 Knights and Ladies were promoted in rank at the investiture, as were 20 Priest Knights, six Knight Grand Cross and three Lady Grand Cross.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn served as principal celebrant at the Saturday afternoon Mass. The homilist was Msgr. John E. Kozar, K.H.S., president of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), headquartered at the New York Catholic Center in Manhattan. Cardinal Egan, grand prior of honor, was in attendance.

Cardinal Dolan serves as grand prior of the order’s Eastern Lieutenancy.

The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is dedicated to supporting the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and responding to the needs of Catholics in the Holy Land. The order’s members aid Catholics in the Holy Land by raising funds for seminaries, schools, hospitals and orphanages.

Msgr. Kozar said the Mass of Investiture, also known as a Mass of Installation, is really a “Mass of renewing of what took place for us some time ago…at our baptism.”

He said with emphasis that the investiture “is not a social promotion, it is a public profession.”

The liturgy began with a procession that included dozens of knights dressed in white robes and ladies in black robes, each adorned with a Jerusalemite Cross, the order’s symbol. It is also known as the Cross of Godfrey of Bouillon because it is believed he was the first one to carry it into battle.

The Holy Sepulchre order dates to the 11th century when, in addition to safeguarding the tomb of Christ, its members were charged with providing assistance to pilgrims.

Madeline Spinnato of St. Paul’s parish on Long Island has been a 20-year member of the order. “I know of all the good works the order does in the Holy Land,” she said.

Marlene Fitzsimmons, also of St. Paul’s and an 18-year member of the order, said she was attracted to the “goodness that this holy organization represents.”

“We don’t want to lose the Catholicness we have over there—it’s dissipating,” she added.

This past May, Msgr. Kozar, along with Cardinal Dolan, Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, another CNEWA board member, as well as Ra’ed Bahou, CNEWA’s regional director for Jordan and Iraq, and Father James Cruz, then the cardinal’s priest secretary, traveled to Jordan.

In his homily, Msgr. Kozar referenced the fact that while there, 22 children received their First Holy Communion. “They shared in the power of the Holy Sepulchre,” he said.

The Eastern Lieutenancy is the oldest lieutenancy of the order in the United States. It was established in 1940 and today comprises New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Msgr. Thomas E. Gilleece, pastor of St. John and St. Mary parish in Chappaqua, serves as chancellor of the Eastern Lieutenancy, and Raymond C. Teatum is lieutenant.

The new members invested from the archdiocese included Auxiliary Bishop John J. O’Hara, who holds the rank of Knight Commander With Star.

Three Priest Knights from the archdiocese were invested: Father Douglas Crawford, parochial vicar, St. Stephen and Our Lady of the Scapular, Manhattan, and Msgr. Andrew Small, O.M.I., president of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, headquartered in Manhattan, and Msgr. Anthony Marchitelli, pastor, Our Lady of the Assumption, the Bronx.

New Knights from the archdiocese are Brother Jack Curran, F.S.C., vice president for Mission at Manhattan College, the Bronx, and James Halpin and James Mulzet, both of Manhattan.

New Ladies from the archdiocese are Susan Antonicelli, the Bronx, and Mary Marjorie Fajarda, Nancy Indelicato and Muriel Recce, all of Manhattan.

Promoted to Priest Knight Commander were Father Thomas Franks, O.F.M., pastor, St. John the Baptist parish, Manhattan, and Father George Rutler, pastor, St. Michael’s and administrator, Holy Innocents, also of Manhattan; Father Karl-Albert Lindblad, in residence at Holy Spirit, Cortlandt Manor; Msgr. Thomas Petrillo, pastor, SS. John and Paul, Larchmont and Father Brian McSweeney, pastor, St. Augustine’s, Ossining.

Promoted to Knight Commander were Deacon Anthony Cassaneto of St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus, the Bronx; Paul Murray, Manhattan; and Gregg Fonti and Ralph Ruggiero, both of Staten Island.

Promoted to Lady Commander were Susan Archambault, Bronxville; Susan Gan, Yonkers, and Kathleen Ruggiero, Staten Island.

Promoted to Commander With Star were Paul Beresford-Hill and William D. Buckley, both of Manhattan; Rory Capra, Tarrytown; Daniel Cherico, New Rochelle; Patrick McDermott, Staten Island, and Frank O’Reilly, Armonk.

Promoted to Lady Commander With Star were Susan McDermott, Staten Island and Mary O’Reilly, Armonk.

Promoted to Knight Grand Cross was John Puppo, White Plains.

Promoted to Lady Grand Cross was Maureen McKew, Manhattan.

The evening of the investiture, a banquet was held at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan.


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