Knight of Holy Sepulchre – Address of Bishop Fintan Monahan- Old Ground Hotel, Ennis, Friday 28th of February 2020
A warm word of welcome to you all here today to the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis in the diocese of Killaloe.
It is an honour and privilege for me to be invited to join the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and to mark it with this special evening here in Ennis with the liturgy in St. Flannan’s followed by table fellowship here in the Old Ground.
I must confess that up to recently I didn’t know a lot about the Equestrian Order apart from little snippets that I picked up as secretary to Archbishop Michael in Tuam and from my colleagues Fr. Francis and classmate Bishop Tom Deenihan.
Mission of the Equestrian Order
What I have come to know is that the very noble and outstanding principal mission is to reinforce the practice of Christian life by its members in fidelity to the pope; to sustain and assist the religious, spiritual, charitable and social works and rights of the Catholic Church and the Christians in the Holy Land.
Heraldry and Mottos
I enjoy the ancient tradition of Heraldry and Mottos and appreciate the Coat of arms of the order attributed to the Kingdom of Jerusalem with the simple but profound symbol of the Cross and the signification of the five wounds of Jesus Christ. I further appreciate the seal of the order in the shape of an almond and portrays, within a frame of a crown of thorns, a representation of Christ rising from the Sepulchre. All very much capturing the Paschal Mystery that we focus on so deeply during these Lenten days in preparation for the celebration of Easter.
From school days I have great memories of our English teacher, a Presentation Sister who often echoed encouragement for us a young students to discern and follow “Toil Dé” (the will of God), hence I am very enthused by the wisdom and simplicity of the motto of the order “Deus lo Vout – Mar is toil le Dia – God wills it”.
I am well aware that you are already very familiar with these basic elements of the Order but I am sure the fresh reaction of someone new to the ranks might be of mild interest!
The Tradition of Pilgrimage
I’m a great fan of pilgrimages and try and go to Knock, Croagh Patrick, Máméan, Lourdes and Lough Derg every year. I’m a regular pilgrim to Rome and Sanitago de Compostela. This year I look forward to venturing to Medjugorje and Oberammargou as well and thanks to Frs Tom and Brendan for the inspiration in much of that. Next year we plan to embark on a diocesan pilgrimage to the Holy Land, something traditionally done in Killaloe every five years. I look forward that very much.
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
I have always regarded the pilgrimage to the Holy Land as the crème de la crème of Pilgrimages and why would it not be, following in the footsteps of Our Lord Himself! Therefore anything at all that can be done to facilitate and promote the wellbeing and flourishing of pilgrims and pilgrimages and Christians in the Holy Land is such a worthy cause. For that reason I am so delighted to be associated and considered worthy to be a member of this esteemed association of women and men united in such a worthy cause.
Personal Memories of Holy Land
My own personal favourtie memories of two visits to the Holy Land include The Mount of beatitudes in Gallilee, The Sea of Gallilee, The Via Delarosa, Calvary and the Holy Sepulchre. However, I found the celebration of the Eucharist on Mount Tabor one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. I have a framed picture of the celebration of Mass on the altar of Mount Tabor and treasure the memories of that deeply, not only for the profound beauty of the sacred location but for all that Transfiguration Spirituality contains.
I look forward to being associated with the work of the Order, along with the comradery and friendship that goes along with the gatherings. I love the words of the prayer of the Order.
Lord Jesus, make me a loving and courageous member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. May I ever be an inspiring example to others to be faithful to you, your teaching and the teaching of your church. May I look on those teachings as your very own, and when necessary to have the courage to defend them against attacks from any source.
Grant me the ability to sustain and aid the institutions of the Catholic church in the Holy Land. After a life of faithful service on earth, may I merit an eternal life of happiness with you in Heaven.
Sincere thanks to all involved for the work involved in coming to this day. Thanks to the member of order for organising and to all the members who travelled long distances.
Thanks to all involved in the liturgy earlier, especially Fr. Ignatius for so kindly providing the venue for the occasion, despite the severe flooding experienced during the week.
I hope you all have a great evening and enjoy the Ennis hospitality.
Sorry I can’t join you tomorrow, but have Confirmations in Shinrone and Kinnity in Co. Offaly. I will pray to the Holy Spirit that he will bless you and your families with good health, happiness and every blessing this day and for the future.
May we all have the grace to continue to carry out God’s well.
Deus Lo Vult. Mar is toil le Dia. God wills it!