Holy Sepulchre order invests 26 new members

SPRINGFIELD — Two bishops, nine priests and 15 lay people from several dioceses in New England were invested as Knights or Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem at a Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield on Oct. 30.

Admission to the order recognizes outstanding service to the Church. Candidates are invited to membership with the approval of their bishop and pastor, and, upon their investiture as Knights and Ladies, may use the titles of Sir and Lady.

Invested into the order were the Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell, bishop of Springfield; Most Rev. Emilio S. Allué, SDB, auxiliary bishop of Boston; Rev. Msgr. Marc B. Caron, vicar general of Portland, Maine; Father Brian G. Bachand, secretary to Archbishop Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap.; Father Christopher D. Connelly, secretary to Bishop McDonnell; Father Thomas H. Maguire, pastor, St. Helen Parish, Norwell; Father Anthony Mancini, rector, Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Providence, R.I.; Father Richard J. Mehm, pastor, Immaculate Conception Parish, Malden; Father Robert M. O’Grady, assistant to the editor of The Pilot; Father Anthony W. Verdelotti, pastor, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Providence, R.I.; and Father James J. Verdelotti, pastor, St. Mary Parish, Cranston, RI.

Among the laity invested were Robert A. and Margaret J. Allard of Portsmouth, N.H.; William A. III and Cindy M. Burke of East Longmeadow; Joseph L. and Patricia F. Cote of Worcester; Edward H. Furey of Enfield, Conn.; Dr. Court-land L. and Dorothy P. Harlow of Kingston; David S. and Maureen E. Paul of Belcher-town; Phillip J. Powers of Shrewsbury; Frederick J. Sheehan of Weymouth; and Michael R. and Joan M. Sobon of South Hadley.

The Order of the Holy Sepulchre traces its origins back to 1099 and is among the oldest orders in the Church. Its name derives from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which was built over the site of the crucifixion and burial place of Jesus and where members of the order were knighted during its early years.

Today, the mission of the order is religious and charitable. Members must commit to work to maintain a Christian presence in the Holy Land through prayer and financial support of its churches, convents, seminaries, schools and orphanages. They must strive to exemplify Catholic ethical principals in their daily lives and must offer daily prayer for peace in the Holy Land.

Members invested in Springfield belong to the Northeastern Lieutenancy, one of nine divisions of the order in the U.S., encompassing the Archdiocese of Boston, and the dioceses of Burlington, Fall River, Manchester, Portland, Providence, Springfield and Worcester. Archbishop O’Malley, KC*HS, is grand prior of the lieutenancy, and His Excellency, Dennis J. Looney Jr., KGCHS, of Wellesley is the Northeastern lieutenant.

The location of the investiture ceremonies rotates each year among dioceses within the lieutenancy.

In the absence of Archbishop O’Malley, who was attending the funeral of Cardinal Hickey in Washington, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Portland was principal celebrant and homilist at the Mass and invested the new members.

At a dinner that followed, four members received the Palm of Jerusalem Award in recognition of their “extraordinary work for the order,” according to Lieutenant Looney.

Receiving these awards were Sir David J. Gaffey, KGCHS, and Lady Nancy M. Gaffey, LGCHS, of Stowe, Vt.; and two priests from the Fall River diocese: Msgr. John F. Moore, KHS, who is pastor of St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, Falmouth; and Mgsr. Ronald A. Tosti, KHS, pastor of Christ the King Parish in Mashpee.

The Mass and dinner were part of a two-day investiture weekend. On Friday evening, Bishop McDonnell celebrated the annual memorial Mass and vigil service at St. Michael Cathedral, during which 55 members of the order received promotions of rank. On Saturday morning, the lieutenancy held its annual meeting.

Across the world, the Order of the Holy Sepulchre has some 20,000 members in divisions established in 30 countries.