Equestrian Order strong in numbers, strong in faith

09 Dec 2021

By Amanda Murthy

Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, at the 2021 investiture Mass of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (EOHSJ), Western Australian Lieutenancy, held on Saturday, 4 December at St Mary’s Cathedral affirmed those present that “All Christians are called to be signs of Christ and the Gospel.”

The investiture, traditionally held in two parts, began on 3 December, with a vigil service. This was a solemn occasion to contemplate on readings from the Old and New Testaments connecting the Orders tie with Jerusalem and with the Holy Sepulchre. The night began with the procession into the Church, which was led by knights and dames holding the symbolic sword, spurs and oils.

The Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (EOHSJ), Western Australian Lieutenancy held a Mass as part of their 2021 Investiture. The Mass on 4 December at Saint Mary’s Cathedral was celebrated by Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, and concelebrated by Father Richard Smith KCHS, Fr Nicholas Nweke KHS, and Fr Phuong Nguyen. Photo: Michelle Tan.

Antonius Adrianus Olislaegers, Vincent Indrawan Sutijono, Paul Joachim Doss and Clarence Wayne Goh were presented as Knights, and Teresa Gawlu installed a Dame. In addition, four current members were awarded promotions for their ongoing service and commitment to the Order. The night ended with Benediction and a final prayer led by EOHSJ WA Lieutenant Kevin Susai.

The 10.30am Mass on Saturday was concelebrated by Father Richard Smith KCHS, Fr Nicholas Nweke KHS, and Fr Phuong Nguyen.           

In his homily, Bishop Don acknowledged the endless love of God, who is always calling us to be at our best.

”We come to God, realising his greatness, and he’s complete otherness to us in many ways. But we also come to God knowing that God is a Father He loves us deeply and is calling us in our way to provide that service of building peace and reconciliation among ourselves, but also in the world at large,” Bishop Don said.

“So strengthened by this Eucharist. The spirit is renewed in us in a very special way, the power of that spirit is released in us in a wonderful way when we come to the Eucharist, purifying our intentions, creating a fresh that balance within us, that enables us to be people who live in good conscience, people who live according to the principles of our faith and the principles of the Gospel, in conversion each day.

“We pray that this involvement within this order will for each and every one of us be that opportunity to grow as people to grow as Christians, and to be the best possible sign of Christ and the Gospel that we can be in the world,” Bishop Don added.

Dames of the EOHSJ Western Australian Lieutenancy at the start of the 2021 Investiture Mass on 4 December at Saint Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Michelle Tan.

The Order’s youngest 2021 member Clarence, 29, said his interest to learn more about EOHSJ was first sparked by a prompting from a Willetton parishioner four years ago.

After years of discerning and being approached again, this time by a member of Bateman Parish (where Clarence serves as Youth Leader) in 2019 – Clarence was ready for the next step.

He recalls his journey with The Record.

“Looking back, I think the Holy Spirit was working in me all along, to remind me of this amazing Order and have what resonated in my heart about them when I initially found about EOHSJ.

“In 2019, I was struggling through some personnel issues, and I was all over the place in terms of my prayer life and strength. It was at this time, that a good friend, Matthew Lim, sent me an advertisement for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Franciscan University of Steubenville, in which Fr Mike Schmitz was leading the pilgrimage.

“At this point, I felt something calling in my heart. I spoke to my parents about going and when I finally decided I was going to go. However, at the beginning of 2020, COVID hit and I did not manage to go to the pilgrimage as it was cancelled. At the time, I was devastated, and I took it to prayer and continued into 2020,” Clarence added.

“Fast forward to the start of this year, a parishioner at my local parish randomly came up to my dad and I to say that he would like to recommend both of us to join the Order. I finally looked at this and thought – this is no coincidence, two people had recommended me, this yearning in my heart for the Holy Land and the many years of youth ministry led me to this point. I took this to discernment and found peace with the decision, finally at the start of the year, I decided to join the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.” 

Clarence affirmed his hope that being a knight will further inspire him to be “strong and stand up for the faith, in the face of adversity.”

His advice to young people, – remove the fear of commitment and to give themselves in service of the community.

“Jesus was the first servant leader and showed us how to serve others before himself. Keeping say yes to the opportunities and volunteer even if its outside your comfort zone because you will never know where you will end up or the experience you will attain,” Clarence said.

“And if there is something you are keen on doing but there are no groups around you, don’t be afraid to start it yourself. I bet you there are other like-minded people like you in the community to support you.”