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

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.

Lent 2019

Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness

Our Lenten journey continues this second week. Time begins to fly past as we look forward to Holy Week. But perhaps as the routine of our promises settles in, we become a little complacent. On the other hand, we might find that we bit off more than we could chew with so many good intentions. Or perhaps we didn’t really give much thought to what to do, or not to do, for Lent this year. Whatever the state of our journey we still have time to take a step back and reflect on how things are going. Perhaps we would do well in re-reading the Grand Master’s Lenten message and pay attention to the little details. In fact, in a world full of distractions, where apps, work, people, family, adverts, alerts, news feeds and tweets (to name a few) all clammer for our attention, it’s the small things that might just help refocus our mind, heart and sight to Christ. After all, little details can often add up to great things.

October 25th, Fest of Our Lady of Palestine

October 25th, Fest of Our Lady of Palestine

The patronage of Our Blessed Lady, Queen of Palestine, over the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre is quite recent. The title was first used by Patriarch Luigi Barlassina (1920-1947), on the occasion of his solemn entry into the Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre on 15 July 1920, when his diocese was consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1983 Pope St John Paul II urged the Knights and Dames of the Order to continue their work in the Holy Land under the protection of Our Blessed Mother. Ten years later the then GM, Cardinal Giuseppe Caprio, asked Saint John Paul II to declare the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Palestine, Patroness of the Order. This was eventually granted by Pope Saint JPII in 1994. Since then the members of the Order celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Palestine every 25th October.

Gibraltar Celebration

This year our Knights and Dames will meet at the Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned at 6 pm, local time, for prayer, adoration (of the Blessed Sacrament) and then Sacred Mass. Knights, Dames and family members will also have a get together after the Mass to chat socially about the upcoming works of the Lieutenancy.

A prayer for peace in the Holy Land:

(taken from OESSH.VA)

Our Lady, Queen of Palestine, extend your hand over the Holy Land and over all who live there:

Jews, Muslims, Druze and Christians, Palestinians, Israelis, migrant workers and refugees.

Our Lady, intercede for us all and especially for the Church, the Body of your Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord.

We have been sent to preach Good News to all in the land that is yours and His, the land of the patriarchs, kings, prophets, apostles and of the first community formed to walk in the way of your Son, the Mother Church of Jerusalem.

This mission needs the courage and the perseverance, the wisdom and the faith that were yours, pray for us.

On your knees, He, who was your Lord and Master, learnt to speak and to pray, to act and to obey.

We ask you to teach us to speak and to pray, to act and to obey today in the land called to be holy.

In the midst of war and hatred, walls, occupation and discrimination, fear and rejection, instruct us how to be instruments of justice and peace, pardon and reconciliation.

We affirm with you that he is our peace.

Show us the way to incarnate in our life as Church both fidelity to your Son and an embracing love for all in this land, especially for those who are the poorest and the most excluded, the homeless, the refugees, the prisoners, those who are maltreated, oppressed and are victims of injustice.

Our Lady, Queen of Palestine, you are our mother, given to us by your Son on the Cross.

With you, we are called to be witnesses to the Resurrection that already heralds His Kingdom.

Modelling ourselves on you, we ask Him to anoint us as Spirit-filled proclaimers of the Good News that He has vanquished death by His death on the Cross and has given life to those in the tombs.

May we, members of His Body the Church, be living signs that point to the Kingdom that is already among us.


Mother Mary, Queen of Palestine, pray for us.

Grand Prior Launches Safeguarding Policy

Grand Prior Launches Safeguarding Policy

Grand Prior Carmel Zammit, KC*HS, Bishop of Gibraltar, launched the Diocesan Safeguarding Policy last week. Together with the Vicar General, Mgr Pardo, Safeguarding Officer Mr A Gordon, and Training Officer Mrs B Cortés, the Grand Prior introduced the local policy. The policy was put together by a local committee over a period of ten months. He thanked all those faithful who had given up their time to help in this endeavour. Bishop Zammit also gratefully acknowledged the involvement of the Arch Diocese of Liverpool and their safeguarding officer,  Rev Des Bill, who also delivered a short presentation at the conference. For more information on the safeguarding policy, see below.

Pastoral Letter: Safeguarding