BORDEAUX – From September 29 – October 1, the city of Bordeaux welcomed nearly 300 Knights and Dames of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher. On the program: investitures of thirty-three new Knights, Priors and Dames, support for the project of opening a reception center in Jerusalem for migrant children, blessing of a chapel, and the Church of Jerusalem conference and its challenges, in collaboration with the Christian Association L’Œuvre d’Orient.
Investiture of New Knights
Held every other year in the provinces, the national meeting this year took place in Bordeaux, during which new knights were dubbed. For the past few years, the Blessed Simon-Stock Province had already accommodated this beautiful national event.
On Friday September 29, the various ceremonies began with the vigil of arms at the Notre Dame church. The intimate ceremony, as is customary, only included the soon-to-be invested candidates, their close relatives and the members of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher. The next day, the morning was devoted to the chapter and in the afternoon the ceremony of investitures in the Order.
Presided over by Bishop Bernard-Nicolas Aubertin, the chapter began with the remembrance of the deceased members, followed by the opening prayer, the Bishop’s homily and a comment on the actions carried out, future actions and their implementation. This chapter brought to an end a year of reflection on restoring strategic approach in the France Lieutenancy of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher. Many people welcomed this notable progress with these new projects, which aroused the support of all. Finally, with a view to the investiture, thirty-three candidates were presented. This year, thirty-seven people asked to be restored to the Order. Four of them were already dubbed on July 2 at the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate.
Presided over by Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, the ceremony was held in the afternoon in St. Andrew’s Cathedral. First, the investiture of the Knights, then the investiture of the Dame, and finally the investiture of three priests and Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux. Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Vicar in Jerusalem and Palestine, Bishop Jacques Perrier, Bishop Emeritus of Tarbes and Lourdes, Mons. Marc Aillet, Bishop of Bayonne, Mons. Philippe Mousset, Bishop of Burgundy, Bishop François Bacqué, Nuncio Apostolic Emeritus in the Republic Dominican Republic and the Netherlands were present at the ceremony as well as nearly three hundred knights. Five hundred more people less accustomed to this kind of event responded to the invitation of the organizers who took advantage of this weekend to speak about the Order and on the need to support the Christians of the Holy Land.
At the end of the Mass, members of the Order were welcomed by the Bordeaux City Council and invited to a cocktail reception during which, Mr. Alain Juppé, a former French Prime Minister and Mayor of Bordeaux, was decorated with the Gold plaque of merit of Order of the Holy Sepulcher.
A Jerusalem Welcome Center project
A charity evening for the benefit of constructing a welcome center in Jerusalem for children of migrants brought the evening to a close at the Palais de la Bourse in Bordeaux.
In January 2018, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Vicariate of Saint James wishes to open this center in Jerusalem in the former hospital close to the Franciscan Capuchin friars’ convent. It’s a project supervised by Father David Neuhaus, for Vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics. At the proposal of the province of Bordeaux, L’Œuvre d’Orient and the Order of the Holy Sepulcher have joined forces. Mr. Dominique Audrerie, a lawyer and member of the Order, and Mr. Patrick Viotte, a delegate of the ecclesiastical province of Aquitaine in L’Oeuvre d’Orient, worked together in ensuring the success of this evening event, collecting funds necessary for the renovation of the building and for all the work. The Cardinal Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, the President of the Province of Bordeaux and the President of L’Œuvre d’Orient all spoke at the beginning of the evening and then asked Father David Neuhaus to present his project.
Blessing of a chapel in the Church Saint-Seurin
On Sunday morning, Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Vicar in Jerusalem and in Palestine, presided, in the presence of almost all of the Knights and Ladies, the parish Mass of Thanksgiving in the Church Saint-Seurin. In his homily, the Bishop recalled that the Gospel of the day calls us to act. He invited them to work for the Holy Land according to the spirituality of the Holy Sepulcher and the Cross of Jesus.
The ceremony ended with the blessing of the side chapel of the church, which was given to the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher by Mons. Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux in 2001.
As a sign of gratitude, as a sign of recognition, and in a spirit of communion, gifts were exchanged. Bishop Marcuzzo offered mosaics and crosses of Holy Land to those persons present who contributed to the project and more particularly to Mr. Dominique Neckebroeck, Chancellor of the France Lieutenancy of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, who played a major role in the organization and success of this weekend.
Conference: the Church of Jerusalem and its challenges
To close the weekend, on Sunday afternoon in the Church Saint-Louis of Chartrons, Father David Neuhaus held a conference on the “Church of Jerusalem and its challenges”, organized by the L’Œuvre d’Orient.
Father David, at the outset, showed the various components of the Church and the challenge of their unity, recalling the presence in the same diocese of the Arabic-speaking, the Hebrew-speaking, the migrants and the members of a religious order. Then he insisted on the necessity of opening towards the world and the welcome of all by the institutions of the Church – schools, universities and welcome centers. Finally, this connoisseur of the different religions in the Holy Land introduced the socio-political situation and the urgency of dialogue with other religions: Islam and Judaism.
The many questions at the end of his presentation attested the interest of many people on the problems faced by the Church in the Middle East.
Honoring Mr. Alain Juppé