Centuries of Service to Christians in the Holy Land

Ours is an ancient Catholic chivalric order of Knighthood with the Pope as sovereign who appoints the Grand Master, currently His Eminence Fernando Cardinal Filoni. It has its headquarters in Vatican City and is under the unique protection of the Holy See. The 28,000 members, men and women, of the Order worldwide are organized either within Lieutenancies or Magistral Delegations, stretching from Malaysia, Australia, to South Africa and Finland.

When he met the Grand Magisterium and Lieutenants in November 2018 Pope Francis remarked that “here in the Vatican, you are, in a certain way, at home, as you constitute an ancient Pontifical institution under the protection of the Holy See”. He went on to say that “it is a good sign that your initiatives in the field of training and health care are open to all, regardless of the communities they belong to and the religion they profess. In this way you help pave the way to make Christian values known, to the promotion of interreligious dialogue, mutual respect and mutual understanding with regard to your mission in the world, do not forget that you are not a philanthropic entity committed to promoting the material and social improvement of recipients. You are called to place the evangelical love of neighbour as the central and final aim of your works, to bear witness everywhere to the goodness and care with which God loves everyone”.

I know you will gain from browsing the site. In doing so you will familiarise yourself with our work, spiritual commitment, and ceremonial.

In 2019, members and friends travelled to the Holy Land on pilgrimage to meet “the living stones“. This was the 14th. Pilgrimage since our establishment in Ireland in 1986. Whilst there we visited inter alia two projects in the West Bank town of Bir Zeit, one a school and the other the refurbishment of the Parish Church. In Bethlehem we met the children in the local Orphanage run by the Sisters of St Vincent De Paul, a humbling experience. In Jordan we visited two projects both Schools, one in in Mafraq which is immediately adjacent to the Syrian border. In all instances this Lieutenancy has a unique bond with the works undertaken by the local Church. Later this year we shall refurbish a parish in Salt which is located close to Amman. See map.

In this Lieutenancy our 200 members meet regularly in Knock, Belfast and other locations, to participate in the Eucharist, to update themselves with developments in the Holy Land and to witness to the Faith. In November the leaders of the Order shall meet in Rome in a Consulta, under the guidance of the Grand Master, to chart the direct ion of the Order for the next few years.
Women and men are admitted to membership in a colourful ceremony in St Patrick’s College Maynooth. In that context 12 members were admitted to membership in July 2023 in the presence not only of our own members but also witnessed by members from Poland, Hungary and Scotland, amongst other locations.

Thus we mix the colourful ceremonial, surrounded by the religious impulse of the Church and in the fraternity of one of the oldest lay Orders of the Church.
The challenge posed to us by Pope Francis is always there.

Deus lo Vult – Mar is toil le Dia – God Wills It
Peter Durnin

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