|KEVELAER - Grandmaster: The Kevelaer Pilgrimage was very fruitful in every aspect.|
From 23 to 27 May 2012, approximately 200 members and guests of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem met in Kevelaer, Germany on Pentecost weekend for the “International Pilgrimage 2012”. They came from 29 countries and four continents spanning the globe. Our Grand Master, the Most Honorable Don Carlos Gereda de Bourbon, Marquis of Almazan, and our Spiritual Protector, His Beatitude Gregorios III, graced members and guests with their presence.
On Thursday, 24 May, a working session of the Public Relations Committee (PRC) was held, with seven members and other invited guests present. Members of the Grand Magistral Council also attended, and the Grand Commander of the Order, H.E. Chev. Drs. Ronald Hendriks, GCMLJ, GCLJ, greeted the PRC and discussed planned revamping of the website and other effective means of communicating with today’s members.
The PRC Standing Committee adopted the following resolutions concerning the implementation of the “Voice of the Grand Master”, a redesign for the international web site on web 2.0 technology , the implementation of videostreaming and podcasting, establishing of a corporate design including a design manual and a general navigation for web sites. The full wording of the resolution is available as PDF-file.
In order to accomplish these resolutions, the PRC will establish and submit the follow-up annual business plan. In order to realise the business plan it is indispensable that an annual budget be authorised by the Grand Magistry.
On Thursday evening members of the PRC, Grand Magistral Council and guests were invited to the home of Dame Lilli and Chev. Wilfried Roth at Krefeld-Huels for a sumptuous BBQ supper. A great and memorable evening was enjoyed by all.
The evening provided for members of the GMC and the PRC an opportunity to relax after a very intensive working session from 0900 to 1800. The PR experts examined and planned for future concepts, the redesign of the international website and policy decisions that needed to be made.
On Friday, 25 May, a meeting of the Heads of Jurisdictions was held, and the Grand Master and our Spiritual Protector were present. Twenty-three countries were represented.
Many important issues were discussed, and the Heads of Jurisdictions were briefed on a variety of topics. Adequate time was provided to give participants an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments.
Also on Friday, 25 May, the first international meeting of the Order’s Hospitallers was held. Eighteen countries were represented. It was announced that a Hospitaller Board and the Grand Hospitaller’s Logistics Board are being developed to improve communications, coordinate Hospitaller activities and support the Grand Hospitaller in all international charitable activities. Key elements were the organization of the first meeting of the Hospitaller Commission and consensus on funding joint Order-wide Hospitaller projects.
On Saturday, 26 May, a pilgrimage walk was held, with a service team of the Lazarus Hilfswerk (LHW) accompanying the walkers.
Many members and guests participated in a twenty-kilometer walk from Eyll to Kevelaer. After the walkers arrived, members participated in a very moving Way of the Cross, specially organised and led by Msgr. Dr. Lothar Schlegel, EGCLJ of Germany, and Msgr. Anthony Toms, JChLJ of Australia.
An excellent booklet, written in English and German to guide our members through the Way of the Cross program, was designed and prepared by Mme. Theres Schönberg, wife of Chev. Andreas Schönberg, KLJ, PRC member and Saint Lazarus website administrator.
Following the Stations of the Cross members and guests processed through the center of Kevelaer to the Basilica, the main pilgrimage church dating from 1864, where many pilgrimage services are held. A beautiful and moving Ecumenical Service was held here led by Msgr. Dr. Lothar Schlegel EGCLJ and Msgr Anthony Toms JChlJ who preached the Occasional Sermon.
Chaplains of the Order during the Way of the Cross
After the service, the Grand Master donated a candle from the Order of Saint Lazarus to the Chapel of the Candles, a hexagon-shaped building, built in 1654, containing candles offered in thanks by many different groups of pilgrims. During the Candle blessing ceremony, apart from the Candle presented by the Grand Master, four decorated Candles were blessed and presented to the representatives of four Saint Lazarus Houses of the Lazarus-Hilfswerk to be taken back to commemorate the International 2012 Pilgrimage.
In the evening, the Grand Master and the Spiritual Protector hosted a reception for Saint Lazarus members and their guests, followed by an evening gala dinner in the Concert House of Kevelaer. Before the gala dinner the Grand Master presented Pilgrimage Medals to a number of people who were instrumental in the successful carriage of the Pilgrimage. Of particular note was Domkapitular Rolf Lohmann, host and Rector of Pilgrimages in Kevelaer.
A significant highlight of the evening was the signing of a Declaration on the Ninth Centenary of the Royal Recognition of the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem by the Grand Master and our Spiritual Protector.
On Sunday, 27 May, a Pontifical Missa Cantata Mass was celebrated in the Basilica by the Auxiliary Bishop of Münster, Bishop Heinrich Janssen, in the presence of His Beatitude and the Grand Master. Monsignori Dr. Lothar Schlegel and Anthony Toms were invited to concelebrate. Ecumenical services were held in St. John’s Chapel and the local Protestant church.
At the end of the Pontifical Mass members of the Order went via a procession to the Chapel of Grace. Domkapitular Rolf Lohmann extended an invitation to members of the Order to visit Kevelaer again in the ecumenical spirit that brought them here on this occasion; he said it was a great honour for Kevelaer to have the Ecumenical Order of Saint Lazarus as pilgrims in Kevelaer. All members and guests attending the Kevelaer Pilgrimage departed with fond memories of a very moving spiritual experience.
Grandmaster Don Carlos Gereda summarized the Kevelaer Pilgrimage experience: "the event as a whole it was a great success"
The main reason for the pilgrimage is to enhance the spiritual life of the Order. But the fact that so many members from so many countries get together allows us all to have a better understanding of the Order as a whole; share targets, experience and knowledge; explain and improve our rules and regulations; discuss strategies and agree common views, and resolve conflicts that may have risen. Moreover to meet others from different Jurisdictions is a wonderful experience in itself and gives us the pride of belonging to our beloved Order.
The Grandmaster is very happy to say "that all these aims were achieved completely. The success of the Pilgrimage is no doubt due to the hard work of the organizers from the Humanitarian Grand Priory Europe, the effort of all those that came from around the world and the support of the Religious and Civil authorities in Kevelaer.
I must thank all those involved in the Order, but especially to the Kevelaer authorities and of course our Spiritual Protector. Special thanks go to the Humanitarian Grand Priory Europe and its Grand Prior, H.E. Chev. Klaus-Peter Pokolm, GCLJ, including his team for organising and successfully executing the Kevelaer pilgrimage. I think we all felt at home in Kevelaer and the pilgrimage was very fruitful in every aspect."
The PRC composed an Album "Kevelaer 2012" with photos and published newspaper-reports.
The editing of the TV-film by the TV-journalist Lukas Stahl about our pilgrimage is going to be finalized. More detailinformations follow sooon