Last September 15, 2016, the Philippine Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem welcomed three Knights and seven Dames into its fold in a Solemn Investiture held at the Santuario de San Antonio Parish. The ceremony was presided over by Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, the Grand Master of the Order. Cardinal O’Brien was also the principal celebrant and Homilist at the Mass that followed the investiture. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who serves as Grand Prior of the Philippine Lieutenancy, together with Santuario de San Antonio parish priest Rev. Father Reu Galoy and at least twelve other priests, concelebrated the Holy Eucharist with the Grand Master.
The Investiture of September 15 marked a significant milestone in the history of the Lieutenancy. It was the first time since the Order was established in the Philippines more than sixty years ago that a Cardinal Grand Master of the Order visited the country and solemnized the Investiture of new members. Cardinal O’Brien was accompanied on his visit by Dr. Paul Bartley, a member of the Grand Magisterium, and by Rev. Father John Bateman, priest-secretary to the Grand Master.
The new Knights and Dames invested were Mr. Angel Buñag, Mr. Emmanuel Miñana, Mr. Bienvenido Tantoco III, Mrs. Ma. Cristina Brias, Mrs. Ma. Pilar Buñag, Dr. Zenaida Gonzales, Dr. Esmeralda Medina, Mrs. Denise Marie Weldon Miñana, Dr. Mercedes Oliver and Mrs. Erlinda Panlilio.
A Special Relationship with Christ
In his homily at the Investiture Mass that day, Cardinal O’Brien spoke eloquently of Jesus Christ’s deep love for Jerusalem. This love, he said, still exists today, in a special relationship that is offered to every Knight and Dame of the Order.
“In our special relationship to Jerusalem, we members of the Order are offered a special relationship to Jesus himself, what love Jesus has for His city. And how short-sighted would we be if we were not to realize that He still loves Jerusalem with all the same pathos that was His when He wept over it. He had walked that land, taught in its temples and synagogues, poured out His heart and all His energies to heal illnesses, to preach peace and bring hope to the poorest and the most helpless and hopeless kindred of His.”
“His love continues today, for the people of His city. He still considers that city His own. And isn’t this continuing love for His land today that yearns to bring relief to tens of thousands who still suffer there? May I suggest to you, members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, that it is Christ’s love for this very land that today brings grace into our hearts, to love those people passionately whom He loves passionately. And is it not His grace from heaven that should prompt us to weep – and more than figuratively --- over His city and His people’s chosen land? When we become aware of the persecutions and denial of human rights; the hatred, the betrayals and even killings that beg a civilized world’s response?”
Enjoining all members to a deeper sanctity and a renewed commitment to the Order, the Cardinal Grand Master reminded those present that it is Jesus Himself who continues to inspire the Order’s mission today.
“Brothers and sisters of our Order, dig deep into your heart’s imagination to see, to realize that it is Jesus who inspires and encourages our mission today. Ask the Lord to help us experience His divine grace, to encourage us, new members and old, to a deeper sanctity and a renewed commitment to His land and His people.”