Unprecedented Pilgrimage of German Lieutenancy
JERUSALEM – During a press conference at the Latin Patriarchate on Friday, September 27, 2013, His Beatitude Fouad Twal and His Excellency Dr. Heinrich Dickmann explained the connection of the German Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre to the Latin Patriarchate, particularly through social and educational projects. This conference began an historic weekend for the Lieutenancy of Germany in the Holy Land that saw a group of 400 pilgrims including 250 Knights and Ladies of the Order and 25 new members were invested in the Order.
On Saturday, September 28, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem invested 25 new members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher (8 women, 12 men and 5 priests). Addressing journalists and, more particularly, H.E. Dr. Dickmann, the German Lieutenant, Patriarch Fouad Twal recalled, as a result of the Consulta of the Order held in Rome last week, that the objectives of the Order are as follows: “the sanctification of its members, a greater involvement of its members in the pastoral life of their local Churches and greater interest and concern for the Latin Patriarchate and its needs.” When the Knights and Dames make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (a moral obligation of the Order) they receive the pilgrim’s shell, granted by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. 92 German members received their shell. To date, it is the largest number of shells presented to group at one time.
The German Lieutenancy, which has existed for 80 years and is known for its generosity, has 1,400 members (17% are women, 12% priests). Lieutenant Heinrich Dickmann expressed his satisfaction to see that the average age of 49 years is decreasing. It is a proof of the dynamism and importance of the younger members who bring a breath of fresh air and energetic “new perspectives”.
Commitment to the Holy Land
“From the late nineteenth century, the Order has financed the construction of 44 Patriarchate schools in Israel, Palestine and Jordan with a commitment to finance the operating costs,” confirmed the Patriarch. This involves 22,000 students. The Patriarch also pointed out that the 68 parishes of the Patriarchate are supported by the Order “thanks to the generosity of its members.”
Patriarch Twal recognized the German Lieutenancy for its contribution to all the needs of the Patriarchate, particularly those of the Seminary in Beit Jala, and also to everything related to medical, social, humanitarian (especially in Gaza) and school needs (scholarships, renovation of primary schools). It also supports pastoral work carried out in the diocese: summer camps, scouts, catechetics. He further noted the participation of the Lieutenancy in the restoration of the Church in Madaba (Jordan), the construction of a new wing of the school in Rameh, support of the University of Bethlehem, the Church and Youth Center in Rafidia, the Bir Zeit school and its playground. Also noted are the twinning agreements of parishes in Germany with six local parishes: Beit Jala, Beit Sahour, Ramallah, Aboud, Bir Zeit and Zababdeh.