“Our special relationship to Jerusalem offers us a special relationship to Jesus”

The Lieutenancy for the Philippines recalls the 2016 Investiture celebrated by Cardinal O'Brien

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Investiture Philippines October 2016

Last September 15, 2016, the Philippine Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem welcomed three Knights and seven Dames into its fold in a Solemn Investiture held at the Santuario de San Antonio Parish.  The ceremony was presided over by Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, the Grand Master of the Order. Cardinal O’Brien was also the principal celebrant and Homilist at the Mass that followed the investiture. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who serves as Grand Prior of the Philippine Lieutenancy, together with Santuario de San Antonio parish priest Rev. Father Reu Galoy and at least twelve other priests, concelebrated the Holy Eucharist with the Grand Master.

The Investiture of September 15 marked a significant milestone in the history of the Lieutenancy. It was the first time since the Order was established in the Philippines more than sixty years ago that a Cardinal Grand Master of the Order visited the country and solemnized the Investiture of new members.  Cardinal O’Brien was accompanied on his visit by Dr. Paul Bartley, a member of the Grand Magisterium, and by Rev. Father John Bateman, priest-secretary to the Grand Master.

The new Knights and Dames invested were Mr. Angel Buñag, Mr. Emmanuel Miñana, Mr. Bienvenido Tantoco III, Mrs. Ma. Cristina Brias, Mrs. Ma. Pilar Buñag, Dr. Zenaida Gonzales, Dr. Esmeralda Medina, Mrs. Denise Marie Weldon Miñana, Dr. Mercedes Oliver and Mrs. Erlinda Panlilio.

A Special Relationship with Christ

In his homily at the Investiture Mass that day, Cardinal O’Brien spoke eloquently of Jesus Christ’s deep love for Jerusalem. This love, he said, still exists today, in a special relationship that is offered to every Knight and Dame of the Order.

In our special relationship to Jerusalem, we members of the Order are offered a special relationship to Jesus himself, what love Jesus has for His city.  And how short-sighted would we be if we were not to realize that He still loves Jerusalem with all the same pathos that was His when He wept over it.  He had walked that land, taught in its temples and synagogues, poured out His heart and all His energies to heal illnesses, to preach peace and bring hope to the poorest and the most helpless and hopeless kindred of His.”

His love continues today, for the people of His city.  He still considers that city His own.  And isn’t this continuing love for His land today that yearns to bring relief to tens of thousands who still suffer there? May I suggest to you, members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, that it is Christ’s love for this very land that today brings grace into our hearts, to love those people passionately whom He loves passionately. And is it not His grace from heaven that should prompt us to weep – and more than figuratively --- over His city and His people’s chosen land? When we become aware of the persecutions and denial of human rights; the hatred, the betrayals and even killings that beg a civilized world’s response?”

Enjoining all members to a deeper sanctity and a renewed commitment to the Order, the Cardinal Grand Master reminded those present that it is Jesus Himself who continues to inspire the Order’s mission today.

“Brothers and sisters of our Order, dig deep into your heart’s imagination to see, to realize that it is Jesus who inspires and encourages our mission today. Ask the Lord to help us experience His divine grace, to encourage us, new members and old, to a deeper sanctity and a renewed commitment to His land and His people.”

(Winter 2017)

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Father Gerard and the Filipino Chaplaincy in Jordan

The commitment of the Lieutenancy for the Philippines for a Filipino Chaplaincy in Jordan

The Filipino Chaplaincy project in Amman began during our Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2011 when the Latin Patriarch then, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, requested a meeting with our Grand Prior, His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. In that meeting where Rene and Mila Bañez, OV and Marilen Espiritu, my wife Margarita and I were also present, the Latin Patriarch expressed the need for a Filipino chaplaincy in Jordan. There are around 45,000 Filipinos who reside there and they need a deeper opportunity to practice the Faith and to receive spiritual guidance.

I am happy to share with you the news that the establishment of the Philippine Chaplaincy in Jordan is done and completed. Father Gerard Metal, the priest we have chosen to set up the chaplaincy in Amman, left on December 19, 2016. He was met at the Amman airport by the staff of the Philippine Embassy and by Fr. Michael Linden SJ, the Jesuit Superior in Jordan. Father Linden has so kindly offered Father Gerald accommodations at the Jesuit Center.

Father Gerald is working hard in fulfilling his mandate, taking over and “Filipinizing” Masses dominated by Filipinos as well as conducting visits to and saying Masses for abused domestic helpers at the OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration). He has started going around the communities of Filipinos, which comprise the largest group of overseas workers in Jordan.  He is immersing himself in the life of our compatriots there --- listening, communicating, and visiting. He is also trying to link with Filipinos in Madaba and Aqaba, because as the then Bishop of Amman, Maroun Lahham, had emphasized to Father Gerald, the Philippine chaplaincy covers not just Amman but the whole of Jordan.

The chaplaincy has been warmly received by the Filipinos. In early January, the Filipino community there hosted a reception to welcome Father Gerald, an event attended by our Ambassador to Jordan, Junever Mahilum-West. To mark the Feast of the Baptism of Christ on January 13, Father Gerald organized a pilgrimage to and will celebrate a Mass by the River Jordan for the Filipino faithful.

Indeed, this milestone is a tangible accomplishment for the Philippine Lieutenancy that will surely help us in our efforts to invite more members to the Order.

Ambassador Jesus P. Tambunting, KGCHS
Lieutenant of Honour

(Winter 2017)