The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (EOHSJ), a prestigious international Catholic organization focused on works of charity and revitalization in the Holy Land, is honoring Bishop Emeritus Gerald Barnes in several ways.
At a private ceremony in San Marino on Apr. 24, Bishop Barnes received the prestigious Gold Palm Award, given to “persons of flawless moral conduct, especially meritorious on behalf of the Order.” Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, who is the local Grand Pryor of the EOHSJ, presented Bishop Barnes with the medal.
Perhaps more significantly, the reception area of a new Nursing School Building at Bethlehem University has been named in Bishop Barnes’ honor. This came about when Greg and Densy Chandra, who are a Knight and Dame of EOHSJ, respectively, sought to give Bishop Barnes an award in his retirement for his lifetime of support to EOHSJ. He, himself, was invested as a Knight of the Order in 1993, and now carries the title of Chaplain.
“We wanted to show our appreciation and to honor him for the many years of dedication and giving of himself to the local and universal Church in the form of a project which will also benefit the people in the Holy Land,” said Densy Chandra. She and Greg are parishioners of The Holy Name of Jesus in Redlands. “As members of the Order that is what we are missioned to do.”
The Chandras asked Bishop Barnes if there was a particular Holy Land charity that could be supported in his name as part of the award, to which he reportedly responded, “Bethlehem University gives me hope.”
“Bishop Barnes has always seen that education gives hope for peace in the future,” Chandra said. “The vision of Bishop Barnes and this opportunity came as a perfect match.”
Cardinal Foley Hall, the new nursing building, will be dedicated this September. A special ceremony to dedicate the Bishop Gerald Barnes Reception area is being planned for 2022. Dame Sue Beidle, another local EOHSJ member, led the efforts to raise the $30,000 donation to Bethlehem University.
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.