by PAT McCARTHY
The New Zealand group of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, whose membership has expanded from Auckland to Hamilton and Palmerston North dioceses, made a long-awaited visit to Hamilton on March 14, the fourth Sunday of Lent.
The visit — twice postponed because of Covid-19 lockdowns — gave members the opportunity to spend time with an Iraqi refugee family the order had helped to resettle in Hamilton.
The order formed a partnership with Caritas, the Iraqi Chaldean Catholic community and the Hamilton diocese to bring the Al Tammo
family to New Zealand in 2018. For most of the knights and dames, it was the first opportunity to meet husband Falah, wife Athraa and children Meriam (aged 7) and Fabian (nearly 3).
Chaldean community leaders and the Al Tammos joined members of the order for lunch, and Athraa delighted in showing photos of
Pope Francis on his visit to Iraq the previous week, including praying in her former parish church.
The order’s work particularly focuses on supporting the Christians of the Holy Land, especially through the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which is the Catholic archdiocese covering Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Cyprus.