New Zealand pilgrims outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 2010. In the front row are Fr Anthony Malone, OFM (centre) and Jack Gibbs (right).
Pilgrimages to the Holy Land are an important part of belonging to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Article 36 of the Order’s constitution states: “Except for justified reasons, the members of the Order must go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land at least once in their lives, preferably taking part in one organised officially by the central or local authorities of the Order.”
The Magistral Delegation in New Zealand has not organised any official pilgrimages, but six of the founding members of the Order in New Zealand in 2011 had been pilgrims in the Holy Land the previous year. They were Jack Gibbs (who became president of the initial EOHSJ foundation), Fr Anthony Malone, OFM, Patricia and Jim Gribble, and Suzie and Pat McCarthy.
The McCarthys had been leading pilgrimages from New Zealand to the Holy Land since 2007. The chaplain for their first pilgrimage was Bishop Pat Dunn (who became the first grand prior for the Order in New Zealand in 2011).
Pat McCarthy had also developed a pilgrimage website, Seetheholyland.net.
Other members of the Order who have undertaken pilgrimages to the Holy Land are: Msgr Bernard Kiely, Carleen Blucher (who became magistral delegate in 2019), Patsy O’Sullivan, Fiona Wilson-Taylor, Peter and Leonie Rawson, Shelly Fitness and Bishop Steve Lowe.
In 2023 March Bishop Lowe led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, followed by Pat and Suzie McCarthy who took their final pilgrimage group to the Holy Land in May 2023.
Knights or dames who have completed a pilgrimage to the Holy Land are granted a pilgrim shell as part of their regalia.
Carleen Blucher (centre) with other New Zealand pilgrims in Jerusalem in 2014.
Bishop Pat Dunn on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2007.
Pilgrimages in March and May 2023
Bishop Steve Lowe KC*HS Grand Prior of the EOHSJ-NZ took a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in March 2023. You can view his Blog, 'Hikoi of Faith', here.
Pat McCarthy, KCHS, and Suzie McCarthy, DCHS also took a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in May 2023. On May 17, while on pilgrimage in Jerusalem, three New Zealand members of the EOHSJ - Fr Chris Denham, KHS, Stephen Fitness, KHS, and Colin Lamb, KHS - were presented with pilgrim shells at the Latin Patriarchate. This was a first for the New Zealand Magistral Delegation as previously members who had been on pilgrimage to the Holy Land received their pilgrim shells at a vigil. Photo shows Pat McCarthy, KCHS, Colin Lamb KHS, Bishop William Shomali, Fr Chris Denham, KHS, Stephen Fitness, KHS, Fiona Wilson-Taylor, DHS, Suzie McCarthy, DCHS, Patsy O'Sullivan, DHS.