There is a Catholic leadership. It is gearing for duty

TORONTO – The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Canada – Toronto Lieutenancy (EOHSJ), is a lay institution placed under the protection of the Holy See (the Papacy). Its roots harken back to the First Crusade in the 12th century, hence its military “tradition”.

Today, according to its web site, the main aim of the Order is to strengthen among its members (some 30,000 world-wide) the practice of Christian life, to sustain and aid the charitable, cultural and social works and institutions of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land.

Each chapter of the Order is called an Ordinary. The president of the chapter is a Lieutenant [of the pope, in the exercise of his temporal power]. There are approximately 40 lieutenancies in the world.

On June 21, 2024, in part to satisfy the purpose of its charter, the EOHSOJ under the guidance of its Lieutenant , Dr Colin Saldanha, hosted its annual fundraising dinner at the Royal Canadian Military Institute on University Ave.

It was a convivial, tasteful and professional evening (MC’d by Dame Mary Edmondstone) where special guests – speakers – shared their perspectives on the issues and significance of Church’s Jubilee (next year), the role of the Blessed Mother Mary, of the Holy Rosary in daily life and the manifestation of Catholicity in the everyday discharge of our obligations to our neighbours.

It was not an evening dedicated to proselytizing, despite the presence of dedicated men and women whose one-on- one conversations seemed to occasionally evoke references to spiritual experiences. The invitees were an eclectic group of Catholic philanthropists, lay activists, thinkers, writers, professionals, educators (elected as well as administrators) and leaders in all aspects of life in Toronto and beyond. Corriere Canadese also received, and accepted, an invitation.

Speakers did, nonetheless, underscore the basic Catholic values of generosity, care, dignity accorded one’s “fellow” and to the responsibility Catholics assume to fulfill obligations to social improvements consistent with God’s law in word and in deed.

There were, as the saying goes, “ready ears” among educators, writers and representatives of religious and lay communities (official Speakers: his Grace Archbishop Leo, Fr. Raymond De Souza, Queenie Yu) present. The list is long and includes Most Rev. Robert Saeed Jarjis (Chaldean), Most Rev. Brian Bayda (Ukrainian Catholic), elected Trustee Maria Iafrate and unelected representatives of various partisan political entities.

If the Church and its ideology is under stress in an increasingly secular environment, it seemed to this observer that there is no shortage of “talented” and willing defenders at the ready.

In the pics below: Corriere Canadese’s Publisher, Honourable Joe Volpe, with Archbishop Frank Leo; YCDSB trustee Maria Iafrate with Archbishop Leo; Honourable Volpe with Queenie Yu; Fr. Raymond De Souza (photo: Priscilla Pajdo)