“Despite the tease of a few raindrops at the start, and a chilly December wind, about 70,000 people filled St. Peter’s Square on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, for the Mass and historic opening of the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy.” So it started as stated by Rev. Msgr. Francis D. Kelly, KC*HS when he wrote Going Through the Door Was A Grace.
In the Northeastern USA Lieutenancy, we were busy throughout the Year of Mercy with H.E. John J. Monahan, KGCHS, Lieutenant, traveling from Diocese to Diocese to bring members together in prayer and dialogue. The journey began in December and January with the celebration of Christmas in several of our eight Dioceses. On February 21 in the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont, members passed through the Holy Door at the St. Joseph Co-Cathedral to join the many gathered at the Jubilee for Religious, Consecrated Life, and Lay Ecclesial Associations with the Most Rev. Christopher J. Coyne.
Next, in the Archdiocese of Boston, members participated in two wonderful Holy Week gatherings. The first was a very special event for us on March 21 as we were not only invited to join seminarians at St. John Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts at a Holy Hour and dinner, but had the opportunity to host Rev. Imad Twal, General Administrator of the Latin Patriachate of Jerusalem, who was kind enough to call upon us during his visit to the United States. Father Imad held the attention of the 115 members who were able to attend his presentation despite the snowy conditions. Members appreciated the opportunity to hear from someone who was able to provide a firsthand report on the conditions in the Holy Land and the importance of the help that the Equestrian Order provides. We thank Rev. Msgr. James P. Moroney, KCHS, Rector, for making it possible for us to gather at the Seminary for this event.
A few days later on March 25, we were again in the Archdiocese where we joined our Grand Prior, His Em. Sean Patrick Cardinal O’Malley, OFM, Cap at his Good Friday Service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. About 80 Knights and Ladies attended with some serving as honor guards during the veneration of the Cross and others as collectors of the gifts that are traditionally earmarked for the Holy Land on this day, given by those in attendance.
The remainder of our calendar year was also quite busy, but of course the highlight was our Investiture Weekend during which we celebrated the 35th Anniversary of our Lieutenancy. Not only was our Grand Prior, His Em. Sean Patrick Cardinal O’Malley, KGCHS with us, but we were deeply grateful for the presence of our Grand Master, His Em. Edwin Frederick Cardinal O’Brien, who traveled to be with us. What an honor for our members to be able to receive his message in person and to have an opportunity to greet him. The entire Investiture Weekend was magnificently accented by beautiful settings, music, ceremonies, and most importantly meaningful liturgies. We were blessed with the Investiture of 50 new members, the promotion of 85 faithful and generous members, and more than 360 attendees who were on hand. With a membership of just shy of 900, we consider that a great success and a testament to the dedication of our members – Knights, Ladies, and Clergy – who continue to honor the promise they made at their own investitures, to continue to be supportive by their presence and by their financial support that allows the Order to fulfill its mission in the Holy Land.