Monday, April 18, 2016

The Grand Magisterium

Last week (it's been busy and I haven't had a chance to write) the Grand Magisterium of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher met here in Rome.  This body has the task of assisting the Grand Master (Cardinal O'Brien) in the government and administration of the Order.  They arrange the programs and activities of the Order and coordinate the national organizations.  They meet bi-annually here in Rome.  Here are some photos from our meeting.

I've never been at a meeting with people from so many different countries.  The top photo includes the Grand Master (center - with a bottle in front of him),  Archbishop Fouad Twal - the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.  The bottom photo is some of the members.  You can see that there are microphones and headphones - there was a cool booth to my right with several people doing simultaneous translations into Italian, English and French (that I know of - there could have been others).  The discussion was all about matters of importance to the governance and work of the Order.  Much like in a parish, the Grand Magisterium advises and recommends to the Grand Master who decides the direction of the Order.

BTW - did you know that the Patriarchate of the Holy Land includes the countries of Israel, Palestine and Jordan?

Of course, being one of only two Military Orders associated and approved by the Holy See (the other being the Knights of Malta), and being made up of Catholic men and women, we began each day with Mass in our Headquarters, the Palazzo della Rovere on the Via della Conciliazione - the street leading up to St. Peter's Basilica.  Here are some photos of the area set up for Mass...

The "job" of the Order is to protect the rights and the people of the Christian people of Holy Land.  A huge portion of the Order's financial support provides for schools which educate the youth - not only Catholic, but also Jewish and Muslim.  It is a way to help build peace from the ground up - if these students can learn from one another that they are all people (not monsters or terrorists), then we can build a solid foundation on which to build a true and lasting peace in the Holy Land.

As the meetings concluded, there was a grand banquet in our Headquarters.  I wanted to post: "Just having a few friends over for dinner..." but never go to it...

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