At annual meeting, Equestrian Order members pray as violence erupts in the Holy Land

Friday, Oct. 20, 2023
At annual meeting, Equestrian Order members pray as violence erupts in the Holy Land + Enlarge
Members of the Western USA Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem from Utah are shown at the EOHSJ's annual meeting.
By Special to the Intermountain Catholic

Ray Dardano

Members of the Western USA Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, assembled for their annual meeting in southern California, awakened on Oct. 7 to the news that violence had broken out in the Holy Land.  

The EOHSJ’s mission is to support Christianity in the Holy Land; the organization is charged with this responsibility as a Papal Order.  

After hearing the news, the entire assembly was immediately called to pray for the people of Israel and Palestine, including those Christians who face daily challenges even during more peaceful times. The Most Rev. Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles and Grand Prior of the EOHSJ Western Lieutenancy, asked the members to pray throughout the weekend for people affected by the violence.

For those attending the annual meeting, the outbreak of violence in Israel highlighted the importance of the EOHSJ’s work. It also generated discussions about additional ways members can assist in the lives of those affected Christians. The support of the Latin Patriarchate and the many educational and humanitarian interests in the Holy Land supported by the EOHSJ are even more critical than ever, because tourism will again be reduced, which means less income for Christian citizens who rely heavily on visitors for their livelihoods.  All members of the Diocese of Salt Lake City are asked to pray for those suffering during this conflict.  

The prayer-filled meeting was held in the Diocese of San Bernardino. The Promotions Mass and the Investiture Mass were held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Palm Desert, Calif., a church where John F. Kennedy and his family regularly attended Mass while visiting the area during his presidency.  

The Salt Lake area’s new investees were Dame Anabel and Sir Francisco Carmona, and Dame Helen and Sir John McNulty. Twenty members were in attendance from the Salt Lake area.

The regular agenda for the meeting was filled with many sessions that focused on one of the most important parts of the mission of members: their own personal spirituality. Members were treated to an evening presentation on iconography by member and world-famous iconographer Dame Vivian Imbruglia, who provided a beautiful icon of Our Lady of Palestine that was unveiled at the event.

In addition, Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, past president of Gonzaga University, gave a presentation on the science behind the appearance of the images on the Shroud of Turin. While many people over the years have tried to authenticate or disprove that the Shroud was the actual burial cloth of Christ, Fr. Spitzer’s scientific presentation drew the conclusion that the cloth was from the mid-first century and the image was explainable using modern scientific knowledge.  

EOHSJ members make a lifelong commitment to be a witness to the faith, to lead an exemplary Christian life of charity in support of Christian communities in the Holy Land and to practice the true charitable commitment of a Christian. Salt Lake area attendees expressed the feelings of intense joy they receive from attending the annual meetings and how that joy is amplified by spending several days with other members from across the western United States. They are particularly excited that the 2024 annual meeting will be hosted by the Salt Lake members and will be held in Salt Lake City.

Ray and Rolinda Dardano are Salt Lake Area Co-Councillors of the Salt Lake Area of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

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