When the Diocese celebrated the arrival of Bishop Alberto Rojas with a welcome Mass in February 2020, among the many groups there in distinct attire was the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (EOHSJ).
An international group that is the only lay institution of the Vatican charged with the task of providing for the needs of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and all the activities and initiatives to support the Christian presence in the Holy Land, the EOHSJ counts 123 members from the Diocese of San Bernardino.
As Bishop Rojas learned about the many facets of the Diocese, he became more familiar the EOHSJ and its mission. The Diocese is within the Western Lieutenancy of the EOHSJ.
“In my time as Ordinary Bishop of San Bernardino I have learned about the Order and its tremendous work to support our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land,” he said recently. “I was so impressed I decided to join it!”
Indeed, on Sunday, Sept. 25, Bishop Rojas was invested into the EOHSJ during a Mass at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles. He now carries the title of Knight of Grand Officer and, as clergy, is now a chaplain to the organization. He joins Bishop Emeritus Gerald Barnes and Auxiliary Bishop Rutilio del Riego, who are already invested in the Order. In addition, nine priests, four deacons and 107 laypersons from the Diocese are invested in the EOHSJ.
“It was a very joyful moment,” said Dame Densy Chandra of Redlands, an EOHSJ member, of Bishop Rojas joining the group. “We had been looking for this for two years. It is a big moral support for us, it means a lot.”
Others from the Diocese invested into the Order during the Sept. 25 Mass were Sir Thomas Imbruglia, Sir Javier Lopez, Sir Robert Greg Pene, Dame Vivian Imbruglia, and Dame Debra Pene.
Bishop Rojas, who wore an alb emblazoned with the EOHSJ’s Jerusalem Cross at his investiture, is scheduled to lead a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the group in 2024, Dame Chandra said.