The EOHSJ is the only lay institution of the Vatican charged with the task of providing for the needs of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem to support the Christian presence in the Holy Land. For millennia, the peoples of the Holy Land have lived through peace and chaos, independence, oppression, freedom and restriction. Its history is not a simple one, nor are the lives of the Christians, Jews, and Muslims who have lived there. There are different perspectives that need to be learned and considered including those of Israelis who seek security from terror as well as the Palestinians whose lands have been confiscated, livelihoods imperiled, and freedoms of movement restricted in order to rebuild a bridge to peace that was started 2000 years ago by Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The meeting brought together the Western Lieutenancy Grand-Pryor, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, our Bishop Gerald Barnes, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix, Bishop Edward Weisenberger of the Diocese of Tucson, Auxiliary Bishop Timothy Freyer of Orange, Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan of San Diego, and Auxiliary Bishop Mark Trudeau of Los Angeles. The Order welcomed the special guest speaker Sami El-Yousef, Chief Executive Officer of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (LPJ), who spoke of the distinctive EOHSJ projects that provide for the education of 3,000 young adults at Bethlehem University, and 19,000 children in primary and secondary schools. The EOHSJ is the main support for the Latin Patriarchate in Palestine, Galilee, Cyprus, and Jordan, which is comprised of 55 parishes.
The Order is also continuing to fund the salary increase for 1,600 teachers and employees from the 45 schools of the Patriarchate. The Catholic parishes and institutions provide humanitarian aid to those refugees from Iraq and Syria. The EOHSJ provides additional spiritual, educational, financial, and personnel resources for legal services, small business loans, and medical care for 130,000 Christians in Israel, 80,000 foreign Christian workers, and 45,000 Palestinian Christians, which is only 1% of the population.
All Catholics are welcomed to join the Southern California EOHSJ members on several pilgrimages to the Holy Land this year as well as a planned Medical Mission during the late Spring. Through these Holy Land Pilgrimages, Medical Missions, and two-week volunteer programs to the Antonian Charitable Society, Our Lady Queen of Peace Centre, Italian Hospital of Karak, St. Vincent Ain Karem Special Needs Home, Hogar Nino Dios, and others, Christians from the Diocese of San Bernardino and beyond can develop inspiring, meaningful, and appealing activities that can be shared with God’s people in the Holy Land.
The annual meeting of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem provided another unique opportunity to meet and socialize with Bishop Barnes during his Saturday night reception. The San Bernardino area welcomed Dame Lyn Hernandez, DHS, and Sir Hiram Hernandez, KHS; Dame Jennifer Rudnicki and Sir Stephen Rudnicki, KHS; Sir Robert Herness, KHS; and Sir Tim Corcoran, KHS, who were invested during the Investiture Ceremony.
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