Holy Sepulcher order helps cover cost of papal trip to Holy Land

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Blessed Pope Pius IX re-established the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem in 1847 to support the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and other Catholics living in the Holy Land. Pope Benedict XVI’s May 8-15 trip to the region will help him see the results of that support and the ongoing needs of the region’s Christians, but the visit itself is partially a result of the knights’ generosity.

U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley, grand master of the order, said the knights and dames had given about $325,000 to Pope Benedict and the same amount to Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem to help cover the expenses of the visit. The cardinal and 50 knights will be on hand during the papal trip, forming a sort of honor guard, he said.

To support the trip with prayer and finances is to support the pope in his mission as the successor of Peter, Cardinal Foley said. “He will do what Peter always does: encourage the faithful, recognize them, give them a renewed sense of worth and let them know how much the universal church appreciates them and the importance of their faith,” he said.

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