ROME, MAY 24, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A group that has been serving the Church since the years of the First Crusade has added more activities to its long history.
The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem met Sunday in the Basilica of St. Mary Major to express its solidarity, closeness and affection to Benedict XVI. The grand master of the order, Cardinal John Foley, presided over the Mass.
The order recently completed a pilgrimage to Turin to see the Shroud. Hundreds of knights and ladies, led by Cardinal Foley, participated in the pilgrimage.
Also in Turin, the order hosted a historical-scientific conference presided over by the archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Severino Poletto, and by the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, who came from the Holy Land for the occasion.
Another historical group at the service of the Church, the Order of Malta, recognized Cardinal Foley for his work.
Fra Matthew Festing, the grand master of the Order of Malta, conferred the insignia of Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion on Cardinal Foley.
Fra Festing mentioned the very close relationship between the two orders, which “for 10 centuries have lent their service to the universal Church, based on the solid Christian principles of love and charity.”
Both, he added, “are committed in different ways to the Holy Land, where the expectations of the whole world are placed.”
“I hope that in the future our orders will be able to join forces,” he said.
On conferring the honor on Cardinal Foley, chaplain of the Order of Malta since 2002, Fra Festing acknowledged “the care, consideration and esteem” that the cardinal has always demonstrated in “joint efforts in the pastoral work of promoting the Petrine ministry.”