His Holiness Pope Francis addressed members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem at the end of its 4-day Consulta on 13-16 November. The Consulta is the Equestrian Order’s general assembly, which takes place every 5 years. Ranking members gather in Rome “to discuss the great questions of the Order’s mission and life.”

As reported by Vatican news, His Holiness Pope Francis took the opportunity to highlight “the dramatic situation of Christians who are persecuted and killed in ever-greater numbers.” The Pontiff exhorted the knights and dames of the Holy Sepulchre to offer both “material aid” and “prayer, constantly invoking the Blessed Virgin, whom you venerate under the title of “Our Lady of Palestine”.

His Holiness Pope Francis also thanked the Equestrian Order for supporting the Church’s pastoral and cultural initiatives. Each knight and dame, he said, should take part in religious formation programs, “so that each member may consolidate their indispensable relationship with the Lord Jesus, especially in prayer, meditation on Holy Scripture, and studying the doctrine of the Church.” The Pontiff  said members of the Holy Sepulchre Order are called focus their efforts “on the evangelical love of neighbor, so as to bear witness everywhere to the goodness and care with which God loves every person.”