The Catholic World Report recently offered a special report on the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem — an ancient charitable order that has close ties to CNEWA:
Almost a thousand years after its founding, an order of crusader knights remains active in the Holy Land. Its mission is not armed battle but the carrying out of the order’s original ideals: personal holiness, evangelization, defense of the weak and charity towards all. Its members also pledge to support the upkeep of the shrines where Christ was born, prayed, mounted his cross and rose from the dead.
Founded soon after the First Crusade, the pontifical Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem currently has some 28,000 clerical, religious and lay members across the globe. While the order’s titles, regalia and ceremonies of investiture come with great honor and dignity (and a rigorous nomination process), membership comes with a lifetime pledge of spiritual and worldly support for the Holy Land. As a result, the order offers countless prayers and millions of dollars annually to build, operate, maintain and expand schools, youth centers, hospitals, seminaries, homes for religious, pre- and post-natal clinics, and the only Catholic institution of higher education in Israel, Bethlehem University.
“Our primary aim is personal sanctification,” stresses Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, grand master of the worldwide order. “I am convinced that with this focus on holiness, the charism [to support the people and shrines of the Holy Land] comes into full bloom.” …
Michael La Civita is a knight commander in the order’s Eastern United States Lieutenancy. For over two decades he has worked for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), a North American-based charitable provider that regularly partners with the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. La Civita describes the work done in the Holy Land by the order as “mind boggling.”
In speaking of how the order’s local Lieutenancies partner with CNEWA, La Civita said that “whatever problem there is in the Holy Land, there is a lay person or priest or religious to heal, care and nurture people who absolutely need it.”
La Civita is especially pleased with the sponsorship of American seminarians for two-week pilgrimages to the Holy Land. The future priests pray, study Scripture and learn first-hand about the social and economic hardships of Christians and all people in the Middle East.