By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
BETTENDORF — Father Jason Crossen, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, is a new member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher after his installation Sept. 23 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains, Cincinnati, Ohio. Archbishop Jerome Listecki of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee presided at the installation.
Father Crossen learned about the organization as a seminarian when he visited Jerusalem. “We had the honor of meeting the Latin Patriarch and two priest members of our group were made Knights of the Holy Sepulcher,” he said.
Current members nominate Catholics who demonstrate an active life in the Catholic Church, have worked for the betterment of others in activities of service and have the approval of their local bishop for nomination. Members financially support the works of the order for the betterment of the Holy Land and its people, Father Crossen said.
During conversation with Msgr. Mark Merdian, pastor at St. Pius X Parish in Rock Island, Father Crossen learned his fellow priest was a part of the order and “in time he invited me to consider membership along with some lay members of his parish.”
Knights of the Holy Sepulcher is one of the Catholic orders of knighthood under the protection of the Holy See, Father Crossen noted. Approval of candidates comes from the Grand Magisterium in Rome headed by Cardinal Fernando Filoni.
Men (Knights) and women (Dames) pray for the peace of Jerusalem and actively participate in ways to benefit the Christians in the Holy Land. Each member makes an annual donation to support charities in the Holy Land, in particular to help the dwindling Christian population there by supporting hospitals, schools, the elderly, churches and other holy sites that pilgrims visit.
The order supports the local bishop of Jerusalem (the Latin Patriarch) to help maintain a Christian presence and peace. Christians make up just 2% of the population, yet help in many endeavors to bring peace between the Muslims and the Jewish populations, Father Crossen said.
Members are encouraged to be ambassadors in their local communities to help raise awareness of the needs of the poor and the issues of peace and justice in the Holy Land. Pope Francis has asked all members to commit themselves to grow spiritually and to help the poor.
During special occasions, members can wear a simple pin or medal denoting membership. Lay members also have capes and headwear while priests receive a white shoulder cape called a mozzetta. These liturgical garments bear the main symbol of the order, the Jerusalem Cross, which is a large red cross with four smaller crosses symbolizing the five wounds of Christ.
“I really enjoy the order’s dedication to the poor in the Holy Land and their efforts to help educate others on the importance of the holy sites where Jesus proclaimed the Gospel,” Father Crossen said. “To be a part of that is amazing and humbling. The local groups or lieutenancies gather once a year for investing the new members and holding annual meetings. I was able to connect with some classmates I haven’t seen in many years and being able to connect with them again through this charitable order has been uplifting for me.”