Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem to bring regional meeting to diocese
by - 8/11/2010
The Knights and Ladies of The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem from the group’s Northern Lieutenancy. (Photo courtesy, The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem)
The Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in the Diocese of Sioux Falls will be hosting the annual gathering of the eight-state Northern Lieutenancy in September of 2011. The three day gathering is expected to draw about 500 people to Sioux Falls.
It is the first time the Sioux Falls group will host the gathering since it was organized in 2001.
The order itself dates back to the first crusade in 1099 and was created for the purpose of safeguarding the tomb of Christ and to provide assistance to pilgrims in the Holy Land. Early Knights committed themselves to lives of prayer and charitable work for the Holy Land.
Today the Order has international membership and its primary role is to support and assist the Christian community in the Holy Land. Membership carries responsibilities in keeping with the original intent, requiring its members to serve the Church with their prayers, alms and activities. Members of the Order contribute financially to the building and support of Catholic schools, hospitals, orphanages and churches in the Holy Land. Pilgrimages to the Holy Land continue to be important for members who are able to travel as they serve to deepen faith and remind members of the “way of the cross” in the land where Jesus lived and preached.
The organization of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre in the Diocese of Sioux Falls dates to 2001. The visit of the patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah as part of the diocesan Journey to Holiness gathering encouraged development of the order locally. Dr. Samir and Mary Abu-Ghazaleh were already members and were helpful in the formation which continues to grow and now has 36 local members.
The Order members participate at many diocesan functions and Masses at the invitation of the bishop. Bishop Paul Swain is also a member of the Order having been invested in Madison, WI.
A wonderful local feature is that for the last three years, the Adoration Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament have assisted the Order by making the medieval-looking capes and berets for the new members of our region. The coat of arms found on the sleeves of the capes is sometimes referred to as the red Jerusalem Cross - symbolizing the five wounds of Christ. This coat of arms is the symbol of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and is important to all things associated with Order.
There are nine lieutenancies (regions) in the U. S. with the Sioux Falls Diocese in the Northern Lieutenancy, an eight state region including South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Colorado.
Planning is currently underway for next year’s much anticipated gathering in Sioux Falls. For further information please contact area counselors Dr. Samir and Mary Abu-Ghazaleh at 605-582-2275.