The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem’s Eastern Lieutenancy of the United States welcomed 107 new members and promoted 110 in a ceremony and Mass celebrated by Cardinal Edwin O’Brien at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Nov. 18.
Cardinal O’Brien, a native New Yorker who serves as the papal order’s grand master, explained the importance of its mission in his homily.
“As a result of what we do during this liturgical celebration, this vibrant lieutenancy of the Eastern United States will be further strengthened, our worldwide order enriched and the mother church of our Catholic faith in Jerusalem will be assured of prayer and support,” said Cardinal O’Brien, who served as rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, and was ordained as an auxiliary bishop during his years in New York.
“Brothers and sisters of our order, dig deep into your hearts and imagination to see, to realize that it is Christ who inspires and encourages our mission today. Make there be no doubt today that the Christ who then wept for Jerusalem is pleased, indeed takes joy in what we are doing to keep his presence alive in that city and land he loved so much.’’
Cardinal Dolan welcomed those being invested and promoted in the order to the cathedral and also welcomed back Cardinal O’Brien.
“I give a very enthusiastic welcome to somebody who really doesn’t need it because he’s a hometown boy, our grand master, His Eminence Edwin Cardinal O’Brien,” Cardinal Dolan said.
“He’s one of New York’s finest, and he’s always at home here at St. Patrick’s.”
The mission of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre is “to strengthen the Christian life of its members and to support the Christian presence in the Holy Land,’’ according to the order’s website.
“It was really special. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time,” Angelo Ambrosino of Howard Beach, Queens, told CNY as one of 53 men becoming a knight.
“What they do in the Holy Land and the mission of the order is really important.”
Anna Louise Bongiovi of the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., who was promoted to Lady Commander, said, “It’s an organization that takes care of Jerusalem. We send money there for education, the poor and the orphans. We do a lot of fund-raising, and it’s a very prestigious organization and one I’m very proud to be with.”
Three knights and three ladies were invested from the archdiocese—Donald and Gail Almeida of St. Patrick’s, Armonk; Elizabeth Weber of Holy Rosary, Greenwood Lake; Michael Bodnyk of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Manhattan; Michael Espiritu of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, Manhattan, and Sister Joan Curtin, C.N.D., director of the archdiocesan Catechetical Office.
Msgr. Edward Weber, director of priest personnel in the archdiocese, and Father James Hurley, of the Archdiocese of Southwark, London, were promoted to priest knight commander. Brother Brian Carty, F.S.C., president of De La Salle Academy in Manhattan, and Vincenzo La Ruffa of Holy Innocents parish, both of Manhattan, received promotions to knight commander. Michael Woolfolk of Resurrection, Rye; Robert Pedersen of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, Manhattan, and Kevin Healy of Our Saviour, Manhattan earned promotions to knight commander with star.
Jeffrey Downey of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Andrew Flach of Sacred Heart, Stamford, were promoted to knight grand cross.
Receiving a promotion to lady grand cross were Mary Dirrane, Immaculate Conception, and Norma Marshiburn of St. Charles Borromeo, both of Manhattan. Vicki Downey of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, who also was promoted to lady grand cross, was installed as lieutenant for the Eastern Lieutenancy of the United States.
Thomas and Kristin Henry from the Diocese of Camden, N.J., will be serving together. Kristin was one of the ladies invested on Nov. 18, and Thomas became a knight last year.
“It was so beautiful,” Mrs. Henry said. “The Mass was stunning and it was an amazing thing to be a part of. The ultimate goal is to help the Christians living in the Holy Land and how I’m not sure yet being new to the order. Anything I can contribute I will do.
“A main goal as a Catholic is to share our faith with everyone we come across and this is a reminder of that.”