Members of the EOHSJ, Gibraltar Lieutenancy, have taken part in liturgical celebrations for decades, especially Corpus Christi. The usual diocesan celebration sees the Diocese meet in the John Macintosh Square for outdoor mass. First communicants, parish groups, representatives from Government, the Armed Services and many Catholics attend mass, sing songs and then accompany the Blessed Sacrament, in procession, to the Cathedral for Benediction. Members of the EOHSJ – Gib are no exception. They attend, worship, process and take part.
Last year (2019), the Knights were given the privilege of guarding the Blessed Sacrament in procession. The conversation after Benediction was based on France, the loss of Notre Damme, and the heroic Fr Jean-Marc Fournier, KHS, who ran into the burning Cathedral to save the Crown of Thorns. In truth, this author thought that this year’s post Benediction conversation would be arid, in comparison. Thankfully, the outcome, at the Cathedral parish (Mass and Benediction), was brilliant, and the post Benediction conversation was positive, albeit mostly about Corona Virus.
The usual procession and outdoor mass had been cancelled, just like most of the liturgical events these past three months. Nevertheless, some faithful Catholics got together, under the Covid-19 Rules for religious gatherings, for what turned out to be a joyous day.
The Lieutenancy took part in official functions at the Cathedral. The mid-day mass ended with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. A reduced cohort of knights provided an honour guard for Parish Administrator, Fr Ghio, who exposed the Blessed Sacrament for Adoration and led the faithful in a reverent rendition of the Tantum Ergo. Chancellor JJ Cortés, KCHS, and P Lyon, KHS, represented the EOHSJ, during this ceremony.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament then followed. Numerous adorers took part in staying with the Lord all afternoon until Solemn Benediction. Perhaps it would be a good time now to say how absolutely beautiful the Cathedral looked. The decorations were stunning.
Solemn Benediction was led by the Bishop, Mgr C Zammit, KC*HS, our grand prior. The Vicar General, Mgr Pardo, Parish Administrator, Fr Ghio, Fr Alvarez and Fr Gasorik also attended. (They concelebrated at mass after the Benediction too). The Cathedral choir sang marvellously, and the Cathedral Alter Servers did a splendid job during the liturgy. The Honour Guard for the Blessed Sacrament was provided by H.E, the Lieutenant Emeritus, C Sacarello, KGCHS, Chan. J Cortés KCHS, Lay Master of Ceremonies D Duo, KHS, and Secretary, C J Cortés, KHS.
We now look forward to next year and hope that our procession and mass may return to normal, thus allowing more of the faithful to take part.
Deus lo Vult