Baltimore, Md., Aug 29, 2011 / 10:44 am
Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien of Baltimore as the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Archbishop O’Brien will move to the headquarters of the Order in Rome, where he will be elevated to the rank of cardinal.
“It has been a singular privilege to serve as Archbishop of Baltimore,” said Archbishop O’Brien at a media conference in Baltimore August 29. “It is with a heavy heart that I will be departing …I pray that I will carry out the will of God and that of (the Pope) in preserving the faith in the Holy Land.”
Archbishop O’Brien’s new post means that he will leave for Rome immediately, after a four-year tenure as head of the Baltimore archdiocese.
In accepting the new position, Archbishop O’Brien assumes responsibility for the ancient lay Catholic Order whose goal is to promote and defend Christianity in the Holy Land.
The organization currently provides 75 percent of the annual income for the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which cares for the church in Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Cyprus. The Order also funds 40 schools, hospitals and institutes of higher education in the region, such as the University of Bethlehem. At present, there are 18,000 members of the order worldwide.