The Order – Our Mission
The mandate of the Order today
The special mandate given by the Holy Father to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is to strengthen the Christian life of its members and to support the Christian presence in the Holy Land. The Order’s initial function was restored by the Pope with the notable difference that its resources are no longer weapons, but brotherly support of the Christians in the Holy Land. In spirit we are still Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.
Members in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem are distinguished by their assiduous practice of Christian faith, by their moral conduct, by their exemplary involvement in the activities of the Church at the parish and diocesan levels, by their willingness to engage in the specific lay apostolate of the Order at the service of the Church, by their ecumenical spirit, and by their active interest in the needs and problems of the Holy Land.
Membership in the Order presumes a firm willingness to develop and deepen the three characteristic virtues of the Order: zeal for self-renunciation in the midst of this society of abundance, generous aid to the weak and those without protection, and courageous struggle for justice and peace.
Zeal for self-renunciation in the midst of this society of abundance
Members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem practice a specific form of Christian self-discipline and witness: an interior disposition of detachment, a willingness to subordinate their personal good to the needs of others and the common zeal, and a notable generosity in the utilization of their material and spiritual resources, talents, influence, time and energy for others.
Generous aid to the weak and those without protection
Members of the Order have a specific focus of Christian concern and apostolate: material, moral, and spiritual assistance to and support of the poor, those without resources, voice, or means, and those who are oppressed and lacking the means to defend themselves and their rights.
Courageous struggle for justice and peace
Members of the Order are called to specific activities involving education, the dissemination of information, heightening public awareness and consciousness, advocacy, and initiatives concerned with the recognition of the human dignity of every person, respect for fundamental and inalienable human rights, equal justice under law, freedom, lack of discrimination, security, human development, and a reasonable quality of life.
To support the Christian presence in the Holy Land means both to support the existence of living Christian communities—i.e., the Church—in the Holy Land and to witness to Christian values in that region. By Holy Land is meant all that territory designated as the “Promised Land” in Sacred Scriptures and especially associated with the life and teaching of Jesus.
The Order, in addition to its concern for the Holy Places, sustains and aids the religious, charitable, cultural, and social works and institutions of the Church in the Holy Land, particularly those of and in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem with which the Order maintains historic and traditional ties.
The charity of the Order extends to all those in need, regardless of their beliefs or religious creeds and is exercised following guidance approved by the Grand Magisterium.
The aims of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in the Holy Land include both works of relief and development, charitable aid to young people, the handicapped, the elderly, and the marginalized, and assisting development through education as well as the defense of the rights of the Church, freedom of worship, promotion of ecumenism, defense of ethnic minorities, and the pursuit of justice and peace. The Order also seeks to interest Catholics and other Christians throughout the world in supporting its works and purposes in the Holy Land, in a spirit and union of charity.
The material aid of the Order in the Holy Land is particularly directed toward the financial support of the institutional activities of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, including pastoral care, maintenance of clergy, support of the seminary, construction and maintenance of parish churches and school buildings, and subsidy of school operations.
The assistance of the Order also includes financial support for the construction, rehabilitation, advancement, and operating expenses of other shrines and sanctuaries, educational institutions, houses of formation, residences for priests and religious, child-care institutions, homes for the aged and the handicapped, and health-care and social service institutions.
The Order also supports projects and programs of human development such as housing, scholarships, small start-up loans for businesses, and other types of social works.
– Excerpts from Guidelines for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem for the Third Millennium