Story by Reagan Scott
(SNR) - Members of the Nebraska/Lincoln Council of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem got together July 1 for their annual summer social in Hastings. The event was a way for the council to spend time together and welcome new members to the organization.
Marie Butler, a member of the Order and one of the primary organizers for the event, said that while the social has been held in Lincoln in past years, members of the Order in Hastings worked to hold the event in their town this year. Lincoln residents traveled out by bus.
The social began with Mass celebrated by Bishop James Conley. Michael Nevrivy, a Hastings resident and four-year member of the organization played the organ during the Mass.
“It’s always very special being able to attend Mass with the bishop,” he said.
After Mass, the group went to the Jackson Dinsdale Art Center at Hastings College where they had dinner with the bishop, heard talks from an arts professor and the woman who coordinates events for the space, and saw a glass-blowing demonstration.
Butler said it was a nice event, and that she was grateful for the help of the Order’s members in Hastings and the support of those from Lincoln.
“It’s great to get together and we had a very meaningful time,” Nevrivy said. “It was nice to meet our new members and welcome them to the group.”
The EOHSJ is a papal order whose mission is to support Christians in the Holy Land. It is believed that the Order dates back to the first crusade when Sir Godfrey de Bouillon liberated Jerusalem.
Today, its more than 30,000 members span the globe, and it is the only papal order to include both the laity and clergy. New members are invited to the Order annually and are nominated by current members of the organization.
Bishop Conley is the head of the Nebraska/Lincoln Council of the EOHSJ while Walt and Carol Zink serve as the Councillors for the Order, conducting the lay work for the area.
Each year local members of the EOHSJ process at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week, at the ordination of priests and at the Marian Mass held each September. They wear vestments with the Jerusalem Cross, also known as the Cross of Godfrey, from the coat of arms of Sir Godfrey de Bouillon. The large cross containing four smaller crosses is thought to represent the five wounds of Christ.
Carol Zink said, “We wear this as a testimony to our submission to, and love of, our Lord.”
Each member of the EOHSJ is encouraged to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land at least once. Those members who do make the trip receive a pilgrim shell which they display when they process in their vestments.
“Walking where our Lord lived is such a privilege and an honor,” Carol Zink said.
In addition to holy sites, pilgrims have the opportunity to visit Christian schools in the Holy Land sponsored by the Order. The EOHSJ has been responsible for rehabilitating a seminary and building churches, schools and playgrounds.
This is just one of the ways the Order’s members live out the tenants of their membership which include serving the Catholic Church, carrying out acts of charity, maintaining a Christian presence in the Holy Land and fulfilling a lifetime commitment to lead an exemplary Christian life and to support Christian communities in the Holy Land.
Carol Zink and Jan Broer visit diocesan schools to share information about the EOHSJ with students in fifth and sixth grade. She said that anyone can help support the Order’s mission by praying for Christians living in the Holy Land and supporting Christian sites in the Holy Land by contributing to the Good Friday collection each year.
Members of the EOHSJ are joined together by a desire to help support Christians in the Holy Land and grow in their faith. Events like their annual summer social help them to do just that.
Being a member of the group has been a great thing for me spiritually,” Nevrivy said. “It has increased strength in my faith, which is why I joined.”