Our Lady of Palestine – Meditations from the Grandmaster: No 3 (of 3)

In this last meditation before tomorrow’s feast, the Grandmaster reminds us of the important mission our Blessed Mother continues to perform in the history of salvation.

The Gibraltar Lieutenancy will be celebrating the feat of Our Lady of Palestine tomorrow (25th October, 2021) at the Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned. Our Grand Prior, Bishop Carmel Zammit, KC*HS, will preside.

You can access the Grandmaster’s podcast on this link:


Or read it here:

Your procession, God, has come into view,
    the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary
.” (Ps 68:25 NIV).

This is the vision in Psalm 67.

It is not just any procession! It is royal! Immediately, there is a great curiosity:  who is in this procession?

The imaginary is confused with reality. And the reality is a fascinating woman: Mary, dressed as a Queen of the East.

In the Holy Land they still call her “Our Lady of Palestine”.

She is not holding a child in her arms, but the model of Jerusalem, or better the simulacrum of the entire Holy Land, of which she was a daughter and then mother of that new Jerusalem, born at Pentecost, which is the Church.

In October, John Paul II established her liturgical memory and the Christian population has perceived that Mary still has a special mission, which is inexhaustible.

The procession is festive, but only for those who join it and allow themselves to be led by it. So Mary is journeying and she accompanies you who love her, you who believe, and you who stand aside, critical, tired and a little resigned.

She lowers her gaze without reproach, full of consolation and prayer.

Hello there! If you want, please join the procession! It will be a new life experience.

Fernando Cardinal Filoni

(October 2021)

End of Quote

Deus lo Vult

Our Lady of Palestine – Meditations from the Grandmaster: No 2 (of 3)

Today the Grandmaster reminds us to be vigilant and temperate and to look to Mother Mary as a great example on how to live life. You can access the pod cast on this link:


Or you can read the message here:

If you are seeking something, pause for a moment.

Restlessness brings no rewards.  I have something to tell you that may interest you: “Be temperate, be vigilant!”. The Apostle Peter (1 Peter 5:8) said this to the recipients of one of his letters, he who was a restless disciple of Jesus, so much so that in the Garden of Olives he resorted to the sword, which Christ made him put away.

I would also like to repeat this to you, my friend who is listening to me!

Confucius said that even small excesses can ruin great plans. Be temperate! Drugs bring no rewards! Violence brings no rewards! Selfishness brings no rewards!

The Catechism of the Catholic church lists it among the cardinal virtues, and its synonyms are frugality, moderation, sobriety, order and balance. What can we say? The world loves excess; the media rewards it headlines.

And yet, we are all convinced that consumerism, even though we cannot help ourselves, brings no rewards: nature rebels, social crises increase, life is ruined!

Gide – a tormented French writer – had reinvented the parable of the prodigal son, believing that really living lay in the willingness to have every experience; then he confessed that he had not found happiness in that either.

Temperance… It is temperance that teaches you the pursuit of good, your own and that of others, and it is vested in charity.  Noble charity! The  charity has a link with God, that gives us a hand to descend the steps in the dark moments of life.

It is not a virtue for the weak.  Mary made it her lifelong companion.

You should try it too!

Fernando Cardinal Filoni

(October 2021)

End of quote

Deus lo Vult

Our Lady of Palestine – Meditations from the Grandmaster: No 1 (of 3)

As we prepare for the feast of Our Lady of Palestine, on October 25th, our Grandmaster, Fernando Cardinal Filoni, invites us to meditate further on the passion of God in our hearts.

The Grandmaster has released a series of Podcasts that can be listened to on the Order’s website. The first pod cast can be found on the following link:


The text is also available below:

“You must carry God’s passion in your heart; for it is man’s greatest consolation!”, was what one medieval mystic reminded those who visited him; and another commented that “nothing can help or serve you except God’s martyrdom and His bitter suffering”.

Passion is not a feeling proper to God. It is human, deeply human.

That is why God had no other option other than become human himself and take on that feeling as a burden. Those who experience passion know that it has a strong carnal involvement and the heart truly feels great consolation. Lovers, who carry within themselves the asceticism of their relationship, know this well.

Mary knew it too, as the prototype of every human being touched by God’s passion, of that God who wanted to give form to Christ’s humanity. She bore the sign of it through her own motherhood, and she did not shrink from sharing in God’s ‘martyrdom and suffering’.

I will say no more! Although every day there is a demon that sows doubt in your heart, takes away your breath and plots to lessen God’s passion in your heart. The restlessness that runs through the spirit, if it burns the passion leaves only ashes, but there is always an appeal to mercy, which is a divine predicate or attribute.

The old medieval mystic is right; Just think about it!

If you do not carry the passion of God in your heart, you cannot experience the greatest consolation!

Fernando Cardinal Filoni

(October 2021)

End of quote.

Deus lo Vult.

Grandmaster’s Lenten Message 2021

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem” (Mt 20:18)

(For the full articles please press the links in the following images)

Click image for the link to the Grand Master’s Lenten Message

The Grand Master, Cardinal Filoni, has urged all Knights and Dames to read the Lenten Message, published by the Holy Father (see image below).

In his message, Cardinal Filoni also states the importance of direction in our lives and how aiming for Christ can help us. He invites us to journey towards conversion, to believe the Gospel, exercise charity and get to Christ through prayer.

Click image for the link to the Holy Father’s Lenten Message

His Holiness’ Lenten Message can be accessed by clicking on his picture. A link will take you to the Vatican Website where you can read his message in English.

Please join the Gibraltar Lieutenancy, this Lent, by praying for the Holy Land, The Magisterium, the Latin Patriarchate, His Holiness the Pope, the Church, people of other faiths and the rest of the world. We hope that the pandemic that has kept us in a ‘Lenten state,’ this past year, will soon pass so that we can celebrate the empty tomb this Easter. And celebrate by returning to our churches for the Easter Vigil and our Paschal song.

Deus Lo Vult

Corpus Christi Post Covid-19

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

Grandmaster Speaks: Youth Presence in Order

In a recent publication, on OESSH.VA, the Grandmaster, HE, Fernando Cardinal Filoni, spoke about the presence of young people in the Order. He has called on Lieutenancies to share their experiences of different youth programmes. It is hoped that this will inform possible ways forward to involve the youth in more activities.

For the full article please press the link on the Jerusalem Cross:

New Jerusalem Cross Edition

Click on the link to go view the magazine.

The new Jerusalem Cross is out! The image link above will take you to the latest edition of our Order’s magazine. In it you will be able to read the latest information on the EOHSJ. Plus, you will be able to get to know more about our new Grandmaster.

Deus lo vult.

Gibraltar Lieutenancy Pilgrimage 2019 – The Holy Land

Pilgrims outside the Church at Mount Tabor.

October saw a delegation of Knights and Dames travel to the Holy Land on pilgrimage with family and friends. Although it was not the first trip to the Middle East for some of our members, it was the first time the Gibraltar Lieutenancy organised an official visit to the land where Jesus Christ was born, lived, died and rose again. As such, it proved to be an inspiring and emotive trip, one which will be remembered by all the pilgrims for a long time.

HE Bishop Zammit, Magdala synagogue

The pilgrims were under the spiritual direction of the Lieutenancy’s Grand Prior, HE C Zammit, KC*HS, Bishop of Gibraltar. The Bishop celebrated daily masses for the group and provided opportunities for the pilgrims to go to confession. His sermons focussed the theme for the day and tied in with feast days and the particular holy site the group visited. The Order’s prayers provided a good start for morning prayer, as did the Holy Rosary. Together with the Bishop’s daily meditations, this experience proved to be nothing less than an encounter with the living Christ and with each other.

James at the archeological site at Magdala.

The visits were led by a local guide, James Abed Rabo, who gave the group useful information about Jesus’ homeland and His life. James also provided an eye-opening insight into the current strife faced by Christians living in the Holy Land. The latter became more evident during the group’s visit to Bethlehem in Palestine.

Nevertheless, each of the holy sites left an impact on the pilgrims. Some places affected some more than others. The peace at Magdala was impressive, as were the mosaics at Gethsemene. The jars of wine in Cana were huge, the heat in Jericho arid, the silence on board the boat on Galilee deafening. Each place the group went, retracing the good Lord’s footsteps in His land, had its particular enchantment, or should one say: grace.

Knights and Dames next to the beautiful stained glass which contains the image of Blessed Bartolomeo Lungo.
The lines of tourists waiting for their chance to see the Holy Tomb of Jesus Christ.
The side altar with a moment after the Elevation.

Perhaps the most impactful moment for the author was in the Holy Sepulchre. Stripping the crowds aside, with the pushing and shoving of tourists clambering for a position in the Aedicule, one could, with focus, imagination and lots of love, find the sacred within the empty tomb.

Another grace filled moment was perhaps best witnessed by the group, who arrived at Calvary at the same time a priest elevated the Blessed Sacrament and said: “This is my Body which will be given up for you.” To be there, on Golgotha, in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist was simply beyond words.

During the stay in Jerusalem, the Knights and Dames were able to meet HE Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Auxiliary Bishop of the Latin Patriarchate. It was at this meeting that HE Marcuzzo presented the Pilgrim Shell to those Knights and Dames who had completed the prerequisites for the award. HE warmly welcomed Bishop Zammit and the pilgrims and hoped that they would return soon.

Pilgrims and Gibraltar Lieutenancy Contingent meet HE Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Auxiliary Bishop of the Latin Patriarchate; Jerusalem, 2019.

Thanks must go to Nena Gaggero, DHS, and her dedicated team, for their help in organising the trip. A mention must also go to all those pilgrims who accompanied the members of the Order on this trip. Their prayerful character and positive participation made the journey extra special.

The Lieutenant, HE J Gaggero, KC*HS, has already started preparing the next Lieutenancy Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Those members interested should write to directly to the Secretary, C J Cortés KHS. Non-members who might be interested in joining the next pilgrimage can contact the Lieutenancy through the contact form on this website for further information.

Pilgrims pose for a final photo outside the Holy Sepulchre.

Deus lo Vult!

Goodbye old friend

Clive Mendez, KCHS

This month saw the sad passing of our good friend Clive Mendez, KCHS. The funeral was well attended by many of Clive’s loved ones and people from his long and full life. Old colleagues from radio and television, close friends, members from the Court Services, top brass from the Royal Gibraltar Police, members of the Church and the local community, plus his confreres from the Order of the Holy Sepulchre were there to pay their last respects to him as he made his way to his family tomb at North Front Cemetery.

The Bishop, H.L Mgr C Zammit, KC*HS, Mgr P Bear, KCHS and Mgr C Azzopardi, KCHS were on the altar to officiate the simple service which he had desired. No pomp, no circumstance, just a simple Christian send off for a good servant of the Church.

Mgr Bear gave an inspiring homily that gave praise to Clive’s generosity, kindness and Christian heart. We heard about his role as adviser to Bishop Rapallo, his significant involvement in bringing the Catholic Community Centre into being and about his love for the Church and his love for Christ.

Clive was a member of the first cohort of Knights of the Holy Sepulchre to be dubbed in Gibraltar. He took his commitment to the Order seriously and with devotion. Clive never missed a function, mass or service. His last official function was as sword-bearer at the last Vigil at Arms and Investiture ceremony during the Grandmaster’s visit in 2017.

There are many stories that we remember when thinking of Clive. There will be better stories that will do the rounds, with the older knights and older priests, every time we put on our capes and meet. Those dear to him, those who served mass with him and, perhaps, owe part of their vocation to him, will remember him and mourn him all the more. I for one will miss his smile and good cheer during the singing of the Tantum Ergo during benediction after the Corpus Christi; his sharp reminders that “not all of us are on e-mail;” and his visits to mum and dad’s house, when he used to bring my sister and me chocolate and a card signed: from Uncle Clive.

Goodbye, old friend. Deus lo vult.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

European Lieutenants Meet in Rome

Photo from OESSH.VA

Last week the European Lieutenants met in Rome to discuss issues pertaining to the Order. Our very own Lieutenant, HE J Gaggero, KC*HS, was present at the European conference and took part in plenary sessions alongside fellow lieutenants from neighbouring territories. On speaking to the website team about the short trip to our Rome Headquaters, HE J Gaggero was significantly positive and expressed great enthusiasm about the whole experience. He is looking forward to sharing what he learned in Rome with the local Council and using the information also gained at the Consulta last year to help develop the Gibraltar Lieutenancy further.

Photo from EOSSH.VA (Twitter)

A focal point of the meetings (a week ago in Rome) dealt with membership and the role of the Order in the Holy Land. At the heart of the mission of the Order is the spiritual and material support of the Latin Patriarchate. This is something that the members attending the pilgrimage later this year (October/November) will get to see first hand.

Photo from OESSH.VA (Twitter)

On a related note, it was announced that the Grand Master’s Secretary, Fr J Bateman, is coming to the end of his tenure. Fr J Bateman was given a surprise promotion to the rank of Knight Commander. Many of the local Knights and Dames will remember meeting Fr Bateman in Gibraltar two years ago when he accompanied HE Cardinal O’Brien to the Rock for our last installation of Knights and Dames. We wish Fr Bateman the very best for his next appointment and hope that we will see him again soon at one of the Order’s events. Fr J Bateman, KCHS, will be replaced by Father Maxim Baz, Lebanese this July.

Finally, we also wish the Governor General, Ambassador Leonardo Visconti di Modrone, a speedy recovery.

Deus lo vult!

The EOHSJGibraltar Team