Organized by the Oeuvre d’Orient and the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher in France, five hundred donors sat down to a charity dinner in Bordeaux on September 30, 2017.

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The sumptuous dinner, most of it contributed by donors, was held in order to support the new project of the Saint James Vicariate for Hebrew speaking Catholics in Israel. The Vicariate is developing a house for children from the migrant community at risk because of poverty and broken families.

The dinner came at the end of a long day of celebration as thirty-two new Knights and Dames were ceremoniously inducted into the Equestrian Order in the Cathedral of Bordeaux. The ceremony was headed by the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order, Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, and the Archbishop of Bordeaux, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard. Present were also the administrator of the Order in France, Archbishop of Tours, Bernard-Nicholas Aubertin, the envoy of the Latin Patriarchate, Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Palestine as well as other bishops. The induction ceremony and solemn mass were followed by a reception at the Municipality in which the mayor, Alain Juppé, underlined his commitment to the Christians of the Orient.

At the dinner, held in Bordeaux’s magnificent Bourse, five hundred people dined together in order to raise money for the Vicariate’s new project. In the course of the dinner, Cardinal O’Brien and a number of other dignitaries addressed the diners. Towards the end of the evening, Father David Neuhaus SJ, former Latin Patriarchal Vicar, was invited to speak and he briefly told the stories of some of the children whose lives will hopefully be much improved by the new house in Jerusalem.

The following day, Father David was invited to preach at the Sunday mass in the parish of Saint Louis-des-Chartrons in Bordeaux and that same afternoon gave a conference, entitled “Christians of Jerusalem: the challenges of the Church in the Holy Land”.

For the magnificent generosity of the Church in France, the Vicariate is deeply grateful to the Oeuvre d’Orient, its president Admiral Pierre Sabatié-Garat and his team, and the French Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, particularly Dominique Audrerie and his team in Bordeaux. May the Lord bless these generous donors and their work for the Church in the Holy Land!