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Archbishop Costelloe welcomes six new members to ancient papal order


Knights and dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem enter St Mary’s Cathedral ahead of their Investiture Mass on Saturday, 10 September. Photo: Ron Tan 

By Rachel Curry

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe last week took inspiration from Saint John Paul II at the Investiture Mass of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, telling the knights and dames to “throw open the doors of your heart to Christ”.

The Mass – held on Saturday, 10 September, is the biggest annual event for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and includes an Investiture Ceremony during which new members are welcomed.

This year, the new knights are Aloysius Peng Sun Chan, Adrian Praveen Gnanamuthu and Colin Peter Vagues and the new dames are Agatha Siaw Lan Ho, Catherine Siew Cheng Loh and Editha V Ramos III Haddenwere.

In joining the order, the new members commit to the task of providing for the needs of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and supporting the Christian presence in the Holy Land.

Knights John Thomas Dillon, Kevin Susai and Alan Clement Voisey were also promoted to Knight Commanders.


Archbishop Timothy Costelloe recalls the words of Saint John Paul II, ‘Do not be afraid. Thrown open the doors of your heart to Christ,’ during his homily. Photo: Ron Tan

During his homily for the occasion, Archbishop Costelloe invited the order’s members to consider the words with which St John Paul II began his pontificate nearly 40 years ago: ‘Do not be afraid. Throw open the doors of your heart to Christ.’

“In this Year of Mercy, this call from Pope John Paul, which has been echoed by Pope Benedict and now by Pope Francis, becomes even more insistent,” the Archbishop said.

“For our present Holy Father, to open your heart to Christ is to open your heart to the one who is the face of the Father’s mercy. Every page of the Gospel confirms this truth.”

Archbishop Costelloe went on to cite the parables of the Good Shepherd, the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan.

The parables demonstrate how God reaches out to us with love, forgiveness and compassion, and asks us to follow Him and walk the path of discipleship, he added.

“The question I would invite each of you to reflect on today is this: in leading me to my association with the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, what is the Lord asking of me as I seek to be a disciple of Jesus, the face of the Father’s mercy?” the Archbishop said.

“How can my belonging to this ancient order shape my response to the Lord so that, through me, he can continue to be present to others with his love, his compassion, his forgiveness and his never-failing mercy?”


Archbishop Timothy Costelloe leads a candidate through the investiture process. Six candidates were accepted into the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem during the Mass. Photo: Ron Tan

Dame Commander Janet Gardner said the Western Australian Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem had about 110 active members, including a growing number from Malaysia.

Looking back to when she first joined the order in 2007, Mrs Gardner said did not realise what a big impact it would have on her life.

“Initially I hadn’t thought about it when I got asked. My husband (Lieutenant John William Gardner) had been a member for some years before and I thought of it as something my husband and I could do together to support the Holy Land,” she said.

“Once I decided to go ahead with it for the reason that I wanted to share it with my husband, it opened a really big window in terms of the international Catholic faith and the bigger picture.

“It took me away from seeing the Church as local parish life and towards what the Church is trying to achieve internationally and what we could do to support that.”

Mrs Gardner has since been on three pilgrimages to the Holy Land and said they had given her a new appreciation for the work of the Church and enriched her thinking on scripture.

She added she was also able to recognise that the “contribution that our organisation could make was real”.

The order doesn’t only preserve Holy sites such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; it also supports orphanages, universities and educational colleges for people of all faiths.

“We came back very grateful each time about what we’ve got here and appreciating that and not taking it for granted,” Mrs Gardner said.

The Investiture Mass was preceded by a Vigil Mass on Friday, 9 September.