31 January 2009

The Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre

Oscott welcomed the Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre for a celebration of mass, today. This annual event gives the seminary both the opportunity to welcome the equestrian order and a chance to get to know the people and work behind this impressive 11th century order.

More details of their work can be found on their website, which includes the aims of the order.

Recently, I was privileged to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. No doubt I will write more of this over the coming weeks, but, for me, the suffering of the Palestinians, and in particular the Christian Arabs, was shocking. Whilst I had watched the news and seen the wall being built, the television did nothing to bring over the horror of the experience for those effectively held in prison by it.

Around the Holy Land, the work and generosity of the Knights was evident, none more so than in the seminary at Beit Jala near Bethlehem. The rector, Mgr. William Shomali, gave a moving account of the struggles the seminarians go through, together with details of the hardships that they will endure once ordained to the priesthood. I am in admiration for the 40 or so students they have.

Whilst in 'the land' I was asked to pray every week for the Holy Land, which I have subsequently managed. Usually I add a regular prayer into the intercessions at Mass. Please join me, and countless others, who pray for peace in the land where heaven and earth meet.

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