November 2017


Our Lady Queen of Palestine Honoured in Scotland


Most people know that the month of October is dedicated to the Rosary.  Fewer know that the last Sunday of October is the feast of Our Lady Queen of Palestine, a feast established in 1927 when the term “Palestine” was synonymous with “the Holy Land”.   The Scottish Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre celebrates this feast with particular devotion because Our Lady Queen of Palestine is the patroness of the Order.   When it goes on pilgrimage to the Holy Land the Lieutenancy makes a point of visiting the shrine established in her honour in the Judean village of Deir Rafat whose chapel is surmounted by a six metre high bronze statue of  Our Lady looking out over the land of Palestine with her hand outstretched in protection.   And inside the church, beneath a roof decorated with the opening words of the Hail Mary in 208 different languages the Lieutenancy prays for those Christians who live and work in the troubled land of Our Lady’s birth.   Sadly these now form only 1% of the population of the Holy Land, down from 10% around ten years ago.


So when it celebrates the feast of Our Lady as Queen of Palestine the Lieutenancy is not simply honouring its patroness.   It is also a good moment to ask her to intercede for those who live in the land where she herself once lived.   The Lieutenancy focusses particularly on those who live in the parish of Our Lady of Sorrows, Aboud, support for which is a major part of the Lieutenancy’s mission to help the Christians living in the Holy Land.   Accordingly,on the last Saturday in October, over forty members of the Lieutenancy, together with family members and postulants hoping to join in 2018, gathered in Stirling in the church of St. Mary’s, to celebrate a Mass to pray for the church in Palestine and to commend it to Our Lady’s care.   The ceremony was greatly enhanced by the singing of the Cecilian Choir from Dundee.


In his homily the Lieutenancy’s chaplain, Fr. Michael Conroy, reminded members of their call to discipleship.  He based his words on the three precepts laid out by the prophet Michah (6,8) “to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with God”.   Drawing on the Gospels he reflected on how Mary fulfilled these three mandates in her life.  He went on to challenge members to see how they should implement them in their own lives and to see how they might be applied to the work the Lieutenancy does for Christians in the Holy Land.  The Lieutenancy members left the celebration of their patroness invigorated by her example and reinforced in their commitment to work to support the ever-diminishing numbers of Christians who live in the land where the mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ was born, lived died and from where she was assumed into Heaven.



September 2017


EOHSJ SCOTLAND Pilgrimage to the Enzie The Nursery of Priests SURVIVAL and REVIVAL


Twenty members of the Order completed a most enlightening and informative Pilgrimage to Banffshire/Moray led by the Grand Prior, Archbishop Mario Conti.  We were based in Elgin (where His Grace grew up) and travelled South, East and West to reach the sites associated with the Catholic Church's Survival and Revival in the 18th Century and before.  We were left in no doubt of the deep debt of gratitude we owe to the Catholics of the Enzie and beyond in NE Scotland for keeping the faith alive despite invidious persecution and great hardship.  It was a dangerous time when the practice of Catholicism was outlawed and incurred severe penalties.  


On FRIDAY we travelled EAST starting with Mass in the Greyfriars Convent (1479), a medieval friary now in the care of American Dominican Nuns. 


The Church is divided into two by a magnificently carved timber screen.  A splendid barrel vaulted ceiling stretches to a stained glass window depicting Christ The King leading throngs of virgins through the Land - Lost, Promised and Regained in Heaven.  After robing we processed along the cloisters into the Church to celebrate our first Mass in the Choir with the nuns.  Much of the Friary's restoration was carried out by the 3rd Marquess of Bute and given to the Sisters of Mercy by his son Colum Crichton-Stuart in 1944. A very short distance from Greyfriars Convent are the ruins of the impressive Gothic RC Cathedral which was the medieval seat of the Bishops of Moray and called, 'The Lantern of the North” established in 1224 and disbanded 1560 at the time of the Reformation.  It was built on land granted by Alexander II of Scotland. The Cathedral was badly damaged by fire in 1390 following an attack by Robert III's brother, Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan known as the Wolf of Badenoch.  After this it was greatly enlarged and reconstructed both in length and in height becoming Scotland's second largest Cathedral after St.Andrew’s.  In 1560 it fell victim to the Reformation, the congregation moving to St Giles in the town when the Pope's authority was rejected, after which the Cathedral’s fabric began to suffer and gradually fall into disrepair.  


Today, even mostly in ruins (although the octagonal chapterhouse has been restored and the impressive western towers overhauled) we can still visualise its considerable size and imposing grandeur.  


The reason why Presbyterianism failed to gain a total hold in the Enzie (after the Reformation) was due to the powerful Catholic Noble House of Gordon.  However, after the death of Alexander 2nd Duke of Gordon (1728), the Duchess, a Protestant, brought the children up in her own faith. For the next 100 years until the Catholic Emancipation Act (1829) Catholics had to look after their own spiritual welfare, secretly attending Masses in barns and outhouses, usually at night. In time a dedicated, clandestine chapel came into being in the shape of St Ninian’s Tynet (The Banffshire Bethlehem ) which was built a few years after Culloden on land owned by the Gordon family.


Although Catholicism was banned after the Reformation, the Jacobite Rising (ending at Culloden) led by Bonnie Prince Charlie, grandson of the Stuart King James ll, resulted in even more persecution of Catholics by Government soldiers led by the Duke of Cumberland, grandson of the Hanoverian King George l.  Catholics were treated as rebels, outlawed, chapels burnt, priests imprisoned and laity deprived of their property.  This was the Church in Survival mode!  


St Ninian’s Tynet (1755) is the earliest Post-Reformation, clandestine Chapel in Scotland, purposefully built to be disguised as a whitewashed long low barn in a field.  It was designed to look anonymous, unassuming and inconspicuous, devoid of any symbolism or sculpture.  Originally it had a thatched roof and no windows which also gave it a domestic appearance.  


Today it has been restored with simple cream painted pews, altar rails and walls. Instead of a cross a ball of stone has been placed on top of the west gable, a reminder of the dark days of persecution.  Over the altar hangs a gilt dove which had belonged to the old church in St Ninian’s Cemetery (1687-1746) that had been burnt by Redcoats returning from Culloden.  It is a place of pristine simplicity offering peace and tranquillity for prayer or reflection.


During our visit, Mgr. Robert MacDonald, retired PP of the Gothic Chapel St Mary's Fochabers (1825), an expert and author on the Church's Survival and Revival in the area, shared with us the fruits of his great knowledge centred on Tynet Chapel and Preshome Church.  If St. Ninian’s represented Survival then St. Gregory’s epitomised Revival.


St Gregory's Preshome (1788) was built openly in the style of Italian Baroque.  It boasts of a beautifully marbled altar above which hangs a copy of the painting, ‘St Gregory the Great’ by Annibale Carracci, exquisite stencilled wall and ceiling decoration, chancel floor tiles depicting the Passion and a pipe organ dating back to 1820.  A most attractive church, and, like Tynet, built in the middle of a field!  Both churches still have Masses celebrated throughout the Summer.  


In the afternoon we travelled to 15th Century Huntly Castle (now in ruins) former seat of the Catholic Gordon Earls and Marquises of Huntly who were instrumental in preserving the Catholic faith in this part of Scotland.  They moved from Huntly to Fochabers where they built Gordon Castle, an 18th Century construction incorporating a tower of the late 15th Century.  


The octagonal parish church of St Margaret’s Huntly (1834) contains beautiful Spanish paintings donated by a cadet branch of the Gordon Family, the Gordons of Wardhouse.  The Spanish inspired architecture is reflected by the unusual classic entrance porch culminating in a Spanish Baroque tower and spire.


On our homeward journey we visited St Thomas’ Keith (1831) birthplace of St. John Ogilvie which houses his shrine.  It is a prominently sited neo- classical cruciform Church boasting of a magnificent copper clad dome, colourful 70’s stained glass windows and the altar piece painting, ‘The Incredulity of St Thomas' commissioned and gifted by Charles X of France in 1828.  


When St Peter's Buckie was opened in 1857 the local paper called it,'The New Catholic Cathedral.’  In the early 19th Century there were many Catholics in the Enzie and records show over 400 in Buckie alone.  They were active members of Preshome Church but the case for a dedicated one in Buckie grew stronger.  In 1832, three years after the Catholic Emancipation Act, the Trades Hall was leased and served as a chapel for the Buckie congregation. In 1850 Sir William Gordon of Letterfurie gave sufficient land for a church, house and school.  


Times had changed - no longer was it necessary to conceal church buildings and St.Peter’s Buckie is a testament to that! A very fine Gothic Church with impressive twin towers, a landmark seen from both land and sea, was begun in 1850 and completed in 1857.  It is a substantial church with marble being a feature - marble side and high altars surrounded by large murals and an attractive rose window.  The Bryceson Organ (1856) came from Fort Augustus Abbey.  It also contains a copy of the statue of Our Lady of Aberdeen, the original statue dating back to 1450 and remaining with the Gordon family for safekeeping until 1625 then sent to the Spanish Infanta Isabella in Brussels.Today it is in the Church of Notre Dame du Finistere in Brussels and known as Notre Dame du Bon Succes.  


On SATURDAY we travelled WEST to the 14th Century Cawdor Castle, historically fascinating, housing an intriguing collection of paintings, furniture and objects d’art.  It started as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor, however, today it is a living home occupied by the Catholic Dowager Countess of Cawdor who joined us at lunch time.  She is justifiably proud of her unique Castle, attractive, extensive gardens with a large maze.  After lunch we journeyed to Culloden Battlefield (1746) the final confrontation of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 and part of the War of the Austrian Succession in Europe. This was the last battle to be fought in mainland Britain.  The Jacobite Rising, under Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie - The Young Pretender), was to restore the throne to the Catholic House of Stuart from the Protestant House of Hanover for his father (James lll).


Charles’ father, James Francis Edward Stuart (The Old Pretender and a Catholic) was the only son of James II, the last Catholic monarch who was deposed by his son-in-law William of Orange, during the Glorious Revolution (1688) from which he fled to France and into exile.  


James ll’s Protestant daughter, Mary and her husband William of Orange became joint sovereigns but none of their children survived into adulthood nor did Mary's sister Queen Anne's children.  In 1701 the Act of Settlement was passed under which anyone who was a Catholic or married one was disqualified from inheriting the crown.  


After the last Stuart Queen Anne died (August 1714) there were 68 of the Stuart Dynasty still alive but the first 55, being Catholic, were excluded. Next in line was Protestant Sophia, Electress of Hanover but she died in June 1714 thus her son George, Elector of Hanover, became George l.  The crown passed from the House of Stuart to the House of Hanover.


The town of Culloden has the newest Catholic Church, the very modern St. Columba’s dedicated in 2008, serving a diverse congregation including a sizeable Indian Community from Kerala which has a monthly Mass in the Syro - Malabar Rite. Heading to Loch Ness we visited the rustic Church of the Immaculate Conception, Stratherrick (1859) a small, whitewashed building, reminiscent of a farmhouse, the interior very bright and atmospheric while the Stations of the Cross were located in a field at the back culminating in a small grotto.  At the southern end of Loch Ness lies Fort Augustus. The Benedictine Abbey (1880 - 1998) which owed its inception to 3rd Marquess of Bute in 1874, had been bought from the Government in 1867 by Simon Fraser, 13th Lord Lovat and given to the Benedictines.  The small former gatehouse now serves as the Catholic Church of SS Peter and Benedict.  


Travelling north along the west side of Loch Ness we reached Inverness for Mass in the very large Church of St Mary's (1837).   Situated on the banks of the River Ness it was dedicated a few years after the Catholic Emancipation Act - the first church to be built in the area since the penal times. It is a fine example of Victorian Gothic Revival, the high altar built of Caen White Stone after the style of Pugin who acted as adviser.


On SUNDAY we travelled SOUTH starting with a sung Latin Mass in the Benedictine Pluscarden Abbey (1230) founded by Alexander ll of Scotland.   


After robing we processed along the beautiful cloisters to our places in the Choir beside the monks.  The Mass was a wonderful, uplifting experience; the superb chanting, the impressive organ music, the utter dedication of the monks yet all accomplished with uncomplicated dignity.   


The Abbey has suffered many attacks, the worst in 1390 by The Wolf of Badinoch.  It was disestablished in 1587.   In present times it was bought by 3rd Marquess of Bute in 1897. His son, Colum Crichton Stuart, gave it to the Benedictines of Prinknash in 1943, they arrived in 1948 and seven years later the bell tower had been re-roofed.   Restoration continued and the priory gained Independence from Prinknash in 1966 and achieved Abbey status in 1974.   


It holds the distinction of being the only medieval British Monastery still being used for its original purpose. Restoration is always ongoing when funds permit!


During the troubled times of the 18th Century Scalan College - “The Hidden Seminary” in the Braes of Glenlivet (1717-1799) was one of the places in which the Catholic faith was kept alive.  After a brief attempt at Morar, Scalan (a plain, simple building hidden in the Braes) was the only place in Scotland in the 18th Century to educate boys for the priesthood. During the eighty-two years of its existence, apart from the very many priests, five bishops had their rudiments of education here and stayed the course despite frequent attacks by Government soldiers.   


It was strategically built, almost invisible from a distance, a factor invaluable in trying to evade detection by the soldiers whose distinctive red coats were immediately visible in the surrounding countryside.   By 1796 the dark days of oppression had begun to pass away and as the number of students grew, a new larger seminary opened at Aquhorthies on Donside (1799).   


Today, Scalan is very well restored affording us an insight into the daily hardships and dangers the seminarians had to endure as well as the committed determination they had to cultivate.  A short distance from Scalan is the pink granite, Scottish Romanesque Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (1829/1896) situated in Chapeltown of Glenlivet and built in a farmyard setting.   


It is uniquely and exquisitely decorated with vivid stencil detail illuminating its green interior and the Pater Noster depicted in italics along the two horizontal cornices.   It belongs to the Pastoral Area of St. Sylvester's, Elgin ensuring regular Masses are still celebrated in this charming church.   


Other churches were also built in the 19th Century to serve the growing Catholic population:


St. Mary’s, Dufftown, 1825


The Incarnation, Tombae, 1829


Our Lady and St. Michael’s, Tomintoul, 1837


Sacred Heart, Aberlour, 1909


 St. Margaret's, Forres,1929


They are all part of the Pastoral Area of St. Sylvester's Elgin and are still in use for the celebration of Holy Mass on a regular rota basis except Tombae which unfortunately is on the ‘at risk’ register.   


Tombae’s Conacher Organ had its last recital on July 25th 2017 before being dismantled and shipped to Kherbet Qanafar in Lebanon to be installed in the Autumn.  


On MONDAY morning our final Mass was celebrated in St. Sylvester's Elgin (1843) the Principal Church of the Pastoral Area.  A church of unpretentious dignity, the handsome marble Baptismal Font was donated by Archbishop Mario’s father and uncle in memory of his grandparents and the delightful Lady Altar donated by his mother in memory of his father.  


A very successful, informative, thought provoking pilgrimage.


HE J. Ritchie Greig, EOHSJ Lieutenant Scotland

September 2017


North East Prigrimage - Pluscarden Mass


Homily for the 8 o’clock Mass, 24 September 2017, Sunday 25A, on Matthew 20:1-16

And repeated at the 10 o’clock Mass


The parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard, like several other of the parables of the Kingdom, is found in St. Matthew’s Gospel alone.


In the verse immediately before it, at the end of Chapter 19, Jesus says to Peter: Many who are first will be last, and the last, first. At the end of our parable he says exactly the same thing, though in a different order: Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.


This is one of the great themes of St. Matthew’s Gospel. We find it set out most clearly in the Beatitudes. In the Kingdom everything will appear to be upside down. Those are blessed, happy, in the Kingdom, who seem to this world to be unhappy. Those who seem to this world to be poor, are the ones who are most truly rich. Those who are most humble will wear crowns and sit upon thrones. Those who are put to death are the ones who finally possess life.


By the 20th Chapter of the Gospel, we are used to this theme; we like it, and we’re ready to hear Jesus speak of it again under some new aspect. Still, today’s parable tends to trip us up. The behaviour of the landowner here seems to us simply bizarre. The parable certainly can’t be offered as any sort of model for a just human society. And if Jesus is going to tell us about his Kingdom, we want him to describe a scene in which everything is peaceful, beautiful, loving and harmonious. Instead we are given a story involving grinding physical toil, hard-nosed financial bargaining, apparent unfairness, grumbling, and rebuke. The equality of the payment is hard to reconcile, too, with what we know about the rewards of heaven, which are certainly not exactly the same for everyone, and are certainly not to be compared with the rather low minimum daily wage of one denarius.


All this difficulty in the parable must certainly be deliberate. Jesus obviously framed it so as to perplex, to challenge, even to annoy.


In the context of the Gospel, his target must be the Pharisees, and other Jews who refuse to accept him. The problem is their attitude. With their ancestors all the way back to Abraham they have been called to labour in the cause of God’s Kingdom. And they have laboured: they have kept the law. But now Jesus is going to invite sinners and gentiles to enter his Kingdom too. He comes with wonderful news of God’s great generosity. Christ’s invitation, extended to Jews and Gentiles alike, will be the fulfilment of God’s plan of salvation from the beginning. In its light we will understand why God first chose Israel: not ultimately in order to exclude the others, but precisely for the sake of the others.


Far from rejoicing in that, as they should, the Pharisees grumble. They are bitter, and envious. They want at least a special, higher place in the Kingdom for themselves, because they feel they deserve it; they feel it’s their due. This attitude is diametrically opposed to the attitude of the Lord, and to the attitude of anyone who truly belongs to his Kingdom. So there is even a hint that these grumblers could find themselves altogether excluded: Take your earnings, he says, and go. If they do somehow manage to scrape in, it will be in the very last place. As for the first place: that will go to those described in the Beatitudes. They are poor in spirit and humble in heart; full of gratitude at the gifts they have received; astonished at the Lord’s generosity towards them; wanting only to sing his praises, in endless joy, and together with all others who share their blessings.


Let us assume, please God, that none of us here has the attitude of the Pharisees. Let us assume that none of us is even tempted to be envious about the salvation of others. Still, the parable has plenty to teach us. We note, for example, how the Lord himself actively goes out to look for workers; actually five times. So it is that Jesus was sent by God into our world, in order to search us out and bring us into his Kingdom. And still now he continually and repeatedly comes to us, and searches us out. Ever and again he touches us, with ever renewed grace; ever and again he renews his invitation to come to him.


We note too the irony in the indignant complaint of the first workers: “You have made them equal to us.” And immediately we think of how Jesus as eternal Son was equal to God his Father; but he humbled himself, precisely to make himself equal to us in our misery and mortality. Far from grudging our equality with him, he came to confer it: to raise us up to a share in his own perfect holiness, and his own divine Sonship.


As for the toil in the vineyard: there too we see a picture of our own life. The service of Jesus, we say, is perfect freedom. Toiling in his vineyard, in the vineyard of his Kingdom, is reward in itself; in itself it’s sheer gift, and grace. Yes, sometimes it’s heavy work in all the heat. There is a penitential aspect to the Christian life. We have to renounce self, die to self, daily take up our Cross with Jesus. But we don’t resent that, or grumble about it, or merely endure it with passive Stoicism. On the contrary: we embrace it, give thanks for it, even rejoice in it, because it’s all a graced means for us towards ever deeper union with Jesus, towards a deeper participation in his mission, towards service of his Kingdom: and that for us is nothing but privilege and grace and happiness and blessing. And then, on top of that, as it were, comes the denarius: final union with Jesus in heaven; our eternal reward, when his Kingdom is forever and definitively established.


We could define our toil in the vineyard of Jesus as the life of prayer, of virtue, of self-giving generosity, of love. That labour can be taken up by anyone, even someone handicapped and house-bound. As for the idle, the non-workers: they represent those who live only for themselves, who have no real purpose in life, who are spiritually asleep, or even spiritually dead. For them to be called to this work is an escape from futility and pointlessness. Through, with and in Jesus they are now sent on a mission, sent to give of themselves to the end. And for them, once again, that is nothing but grace and blessing.


If with most commentators we take the denarius to represent Jesus himself, a question arises. Is Jesus enough for us? Or do we want something more, something in addition to him? Such a question really answers itself. To want more than Jesus is not to have understood who he is, or what it means for us to receive him.


Now once again, in this holy Eucharist, Jesus offers himself to us, in his totality, under sacramental signs. He is God Incarnate; crucified for us, given to us, risen and ascended for us, pouring out the Holy Spirit upon us. As wages, he infinitely exceeds all our possible deserving; he superabundantly fulfils all our needs, all our desires. Yes, we cry out, as we prepare to receive him: Lord, you are enough for us, and we ask for nothing more.


September 2017


North East Pilgrimage


On Sunday 24 September Archbishop Mario Conti visited the Monastery with a pilgrim group he is leading. The pilgrims represent the Scottish Lieutenancy of the Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre. This is a Catholic Charity, founded by Bl. Pope Pius IX, especially for the support and relief of Christians in the Holy Land.
​The Archbishop presided at our Sunday Conventual Mass, singing it in Latin according to our custom. The Knights and Dames came into Choir for that, and afterwards gathered for a group photograph with members ​of the community.

June 17




The pleasant setting of Auchterarder Golf Club, Perthshire was the location for a recent charity Golf Day organised by the Scottish Lieutenancy of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.   Their aim was to raise funds for the parish of Our Lady of Sorrows in the Palestinian town of Aboud some 25 miles northwest of Jerusalem, which the Lieutenancy assists, as part of its mission to support the Church in the Holy Land.   In an open competition fifty-one golfers from all over Scotland, plus our first female competitor Patricia Smith, teed off in light showers, which cleared up very soon to a bright sunny day of play for the 2017 Cardinal Winning Memorial Trophy.   This is the third annual occasion in succession the tournament has been held.


It was a very good-natured event, despite the increased competition, and over an excellent high tea friendships were made and renewed while exploits were discussed and analysed. The spirit of generosity extended to a charity auction held before the trophy presentations with two items one a 2 ball at Gleneagles realising £200 and a bottle of House of Lords 30 year old blended whisky fetched £120 demonstrating the generosity on show on the day.


After the judges had checked the scorecards the winner of the Cardinal Winning Memorial Trophy was declared to be Andy Canavan.   He has already indicated that he wishes to defend his title in 2018.  Scott Currie won the longest drive at hole 17, nearest the pin at hole 4 went to Eddie Loughton with the overall team winners comprising of Joe McEnaney. Fred Hamilton, Gordon McLaughlin and Hugh McMahon.


This was a day of high achievement, the greatest of which was to raise £4,676.20 for Aboud.  This money will go towards financing projects in the village improving the living environment and lift the morale of the people who live in very difficult circumstances. At the end of the day Bert Daly, one of the organisers, commented, “Again we were blessed with good weather, prayers do work. The golfers thoroughly enjoyed their day and with donations from our supporters another significant amount was raised to help keep the Christians in the Holy Land. A big thanks to all and bookings have already been taken for next year’s tournament.



Dec 16:


Order of the Holy SEpulchre in the HOly Land


The Scottish Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre has recently returned from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.   Such a pilgrimage is always a special event as pilgrims walk in the footsteps of the Lord and visit the Holy Places, as did the Scottish pilgrims.   However, for members of the Equestrian Order visiting the Holy Land is extra special.   This international papal Order is rooted in the Holy Land, that area of the Middle East formerly known as Palestine, now sadly divided between the political entities of Israel and Palestine.   Like the 30,000 Knights and Dames from 40 countries worldwide the 130 members of the Scottish Lieutenancy promise to supply moral and material support for the charitable works of the Church in the Holy Land in order to maintain the presence of Christians in the land of Christ’s birth.


The Scottish Lieutenancy supports in particular the parish of Our Lady of Sorrows in the village of Aboud, situated in the occupied West Bank area of Palestine some 25 miles north east of Jerusalem and home to some 2500 people.  Whenever the Lieutenancy goes to the Holy Land it visits the parish and meets the parishioners.   This time we attended the parish Sunday Mass after which we were able to talk with parishioners over coffee.   Fr Yousef Riziq, the parish priest, told us just how difficult life is for Christians in the Holy Land, particularly in the occupied area of the West Bank which, though legally part of the Palestinian Authority, is firmly under Israeli civilian and military control.   This has led to the village losing 40% of its land on which Israeli settlements have been built, and control of its own water, to the detriment of its olive groves which are the sole source of income for the village.   Restrictions on travel and land mean that work is not easy to find:  one 28 year-old we spoke to has not had a job for five years despite having a diploma and a university degree.   The aid which the Lieutenancy has provided over the past year has contributed to building repairs for the church, for helping with summer camps for the children, and for providing for families in need.  It was good to see the positive results that this help provides and to meet with those who benefit from it.


The pilgrims returned from the Holy Land spiritually renewed and re-invigorated in their commitment to work for the good of the Church in the Holy Land, having seen at first hand the effect of the work they do to support it.    Roseanne O’Keefe from Bothwell who had never been to the Holy Land before, commented "Going to the Holy Land on pilgrimage for the first time, walking in the land where Jesus lived and preached, was a deeply spiritual experience bringing the gospel to life for me.    There were many special moments on our week long pilgrimage,: a quiet moment of reflection on the Sea of Galilee, a beautiful view from Mount Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration.   However two visits stand out;  elebrating Mass with the Parish of Aboud in the West Bank was so uplifting, seeing the church full to capacity and all the congregation singing was wonderful.   Also celebrating Mass in the church of Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept looking out over Jerusalem, and then walking in the Garden of Gethsemane just below the church."



Dec 16:




Chev. Bart McGettrick writes:


Your Excellencies and Friends


As you may know I held a fund-raising event last Thursday to raise awareness and funds regarding the "baby warehouses" in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. You just may wish to see the message sent by Fr David Neuhaus SJ which was so warmly received in Glasgow. I attach the link and hope it works for you. 


It is so good that Fr David was able to produce this message for us. (Copy the link into your driver and I hope that you will see the video).


The event generated almost £4000 and a significant contribution came from the Knights of The Holy Sepulchre.


My sincere thanks to those who came last Thursday and to all the contributions made. I shall make sure that your intentions will be made known in Bethlehem this Christmas. 


Very best wishes




Nov 16:




The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Scottish Lieutenancy, undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy land during November 2016. Ten Knights and Dames received their Pilgrims Shell from the Apostolic Administrator during the pilgrimage.  Please cut and paste the link below to view the outstandingly beautiful photos:


Nov 16:




The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Scottish Lieutenancy, undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy land during November 2016. Ten Knights and Dames received their Pilgrims Shell from the Apostolic Administrator during the pilgrimage.  Please cut and paste the link below to view the outstandingly beautiful photos:


Oct 16:




On 29th October the Scottish Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre celebrated the feast of Our Lady Queen of Palestine, the patroness of the Order, with a Mass in St Mirin’s Cathedral, Paisley.   The Mass was celebrated by one of the Lieutenancy’s latest recruits, Bishop John Keenan.   He was invested as Knight of the Order in September and this was the first Mass that he had celebrated for the Lieutenancy as a member.   The feast of Our Lady Queen of Palestine, and a shrine to her in that name was established in the Judean village of Deir Rafat, in 1927, at a time when the term “Palestine” corresponded to “The Holy Land”, devoid of the political considerations between Israel and Palestine which are a later development.  Palestine in this context is an inclusive term, not a divisive one.


In the course of his thought-provoking homily Bishop Keenan evoked that historical dimension, as he reminded the large gathering of Knights and Dames of the importance of their commitment to the support of the Church in the Holy Land, quoting Psalm 137 “If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand wither”.   He highlighted that the population of Christians in the land of Our Lady’s birth has now diminished to a mere 1% of the overall population and that there was a need to act to redress this.   But he also pointed to the sense of confusion which can arise in people’s minds in the present situation over what they should do or the way they should follow.   As a means to overcome this Bishop Keenan emphasised the important role of Mary as intercessor for those living in the land of her birth and also for those who seek to help them   He therefore exhorted the Lieutenancy to remember Mary as the key intercessor and protector of the land in which both she and her son Christ Our Lord were born and lived.  And he reminded Knights and Dames that the earthly Jerusalem towards which many of their efforts are dedicated is an image which leads to the heavenly Jerusalem to which we all aspire.


The annual Mass for the feast of Our Lady Queen of Palestine is always an important event for the Lieutenancy but this year the Lieutenancy has a number of events dedicated to her intercession.   In April a life-size statue of her was blessed and erected in the grounds of the National Shrine at Carfin where many can be reminded of Mary’s role as intercessor for Palestine.   Furthermore, the week after the Mass in Paisley 29 members of the Order, their families, and friends will set out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land during which they will visit not only the Holy Sites of Christ’s life, and  the parish of Our Lady of Sorrows Aboud, for which the Scottish Lieutenancy has special care, but also the 1927 shrine of Our Lady Queen of Palestine at Deir Rafat,   There they will celebrate Mass and pray for peace in the troubled territory of the Holy Land, and for the protection of Mary for the land of her birth.

Sep 16:




The annual Investiture ceremonies of the Scottish Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre were unusual this year.   Though priests and bishops are admitted to this predominately lay Papal Order, given the small number of bishops in Scotland it is not common to see one being invested into the Order.   But this year no less than two members of the hierarchy were admitted to the Order’s ranks, Archbishop Cushley of St. Andrew’s and Edinburgh and Bishop Keenan of Paisley.   They were joined in the solemn clothing ceremony by three new lay Knights of the Holy Sepulchre:  Martin Gardner from Stonehaven, John McVey from Glasgow, and Michael Willis from Stirling.   Asked how he had come to join the Order Michael said: “I was always fascinated by the history and legacy of the various Chivalric Papal Orders. At a fund-raising Golf Day in Perthshire I met some of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre who explained their current mission within Palestine and promoted my application for membership.   So here I am today”   


In another departure from custom the ceremonies were held in Motherwell Cathedral for the first time, at the kind invitation of Bishop Toal, an episcopal member.   They were conducted by Archbishop Conti in his capacity as Grand Prior of the Scottish Lieutenancy and the Mass was enhanced by the singing of the Motherwell diocesan choir.


In the course of the ceremony Archbishop Conti clothed each bishop in a white mozzetta which bears the distinctive red cross of Jerusalem – a square cross with a smaller, similar cross in each quarter, the whole representing the five wounds of Christ.    He clothed each of the three new knights with a large white cloak, also bearing the Jerusalem cross.   The Grand Prior also placed around the neck of all five new members a red enamelled Jerusalem cross which members wear on ceremonial occasions.


In his homily Archbishop Conti addressed the question of what is expected of members of the Order in the world today.   Basing himself on the scriptural readings of the Investiture Mass he emphasised the importance of publically giving witness to one’s faith through action.   He gave practical illustrations of how an active and generous support of the work of the Order could help achieve this.   He instanced visiting the Holy Land on pilgrimage, working to help resolve the pressing problems of baby warehouses in Tel Aviv, and by demonstrating goodwill and charity towards others in raising funds for those in need.   These practices could enable members to outwardly express what they inwardly believed.


At a meeting held immediately after Mass the very large cohort of Scottish Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre heard of the realities of the Order’s work from Prof. Bart McGettrick, a member of the Lieutenancy and one of the three members of the Order’s Holy Land Commission who oversee the Order’s work on projects on behalf of the international Order’s ruling Council.  He gave an up-to-date account of the situation in the Holy Land based on his recent three week stay there.  Prof McGettrick emphasised the Order’s role in helping get rid of separation, division and conflicts between the different groups living there.  He highlighted the importance of working to resolve injustice wherever it is found in order to let hope grow in people’s hearts.


The meeting rounded off a weekend of reflective spirituality, practical enthusiasm, and great joy at welcoming five new members including the two bishops, to help further the Order’s work in the land of Our Lord’s birth, death, and resurrection.


Jul 16:




The Scottish Lieutenancy held a charity Golf Day recently at Auchterarder Golf Club to raise funds for the parish of Our Lady of Sorrows in Aboud, a village in the West Bank in the Holy Land.   A magnificent total of £6625 was raised.   The Cardinal Winning Memorial Trophy was won by Stevie Dunn.

Print Print | Sitemap
© Scottish Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. A charity registered in Scotland Reg No SCO 22356