On November 7, the Holy See Press Office hosted the press conference for the presentation of the 2018 Consulta of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, which takes place in Rome from November 13 to 16. All the highest offices of the Order, the Grand Magisterium and the local leaders of the Lieutenancies and Magistral Delegations from five continents participate in the Consulta, the main consultative body of the Order, as well as a representative of the Secretariat of State and a representative of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
During the press conference the Grand Master, Cardinal Edwin O'Brien, had the opportunity to insist on the spirituality of the Order: "the first purpose of our Order is to develop the spiritual life of each of our members. This will be a central topic in our discussion next week." Responding to journalists' questions, Cardinal O'Brien stressed support for pastoral, educational and humanitarian activities in the Holy Land, in particular through the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, but not only: "we do not want the Holy Land to become a museum, we want to support the living stones of this land".
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, addressed press in the same vein: "The Congregation for the Oriental Churches on the one hand, and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre on the other – logistically the buildings that host these two institutions are facing each other across the Via della Conciliazione – were not created throughout history to preserve something archaeological or ancient, but the concrete life of our Christian brothers and sisters in the lands visited by the presence of the Savior, from whom the precious treasure of the Gospel and the sparks of Pentecostal fire have come to us". The Order of the Holy Sepulchre, in fact, works in close contact with the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, as part of the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches through which "the Order guarantees the financing of various development projects, of assistance to pastoral realities and more generally to the life of the Eastern Churches", as Cardinal Sandri recalled.
Concluding the presentations, the Governor General of the Order, Ambassador Leonardo Visconti di Modrone, recalled the Order's mission and in particular "the decision was taken by the Grand Magisterium to favor interventions in the field of education and formation of the younger generations, supporting financial institutions, Catholic schools and universities in order to improve their quality and provide them with a fundamental contribution to the pacification of the region". This also translates into a constant commitment to contribute to a higher salary for teachers in the schools of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which aims to support the culture of encounter. In fact, as the Governor General Visconti di Modrone emphasized, in these schools "the percentage of Christians is estimated at around 57%. We trust that the high percentage of Muslims who benefit from this formation will grow brimming with feelings of solidarity and peaceful coexistence, qualities whose beneficial effects will be felt in the construction of the world of tomorrow".
At the end of the scheduled interventions and the first questions by the journalists, the Lieutenant General of the Order, Professor Agostino Borromeo, and the Lieutenant for Switzerland, Professor Donata Maria Krethlow-Benziger, were available to press for further interviews.
(November 8, 2018)