AMS Members Knighted in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem

Investiture conducted in ceremony at Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two Catholic military chaplains endorsed by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) and a United States Army Colonel were invested Saturday in the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, the successor of an ancient military force established some 900 years ago to protect a very jewel of Christendom—the Tomb of Christ.

Crusader Godfrey de Bouillon established the order immediately after the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099. Approved by Pope Pascal in 1113, the Order remains active today mainly as a charitable organization working through the Near East Welfare Association to support clinics, schools, orphanages, and other facilities to serve the needy in the Holy Land.

During a Solemn Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle Saturday afternoon the following were inducted into the Order:

  • Father Michael Parisi, a U.S. Navy Captain, Command Chaplain at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland;
  • Father James Betz, a U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel based at the Army’s headquarters for Europe in Heidelberg, Germany;
  • Colonel Anita Raines of the U.S. Army based at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

The Mass was celebrated by his Excellency, the Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore and Grand Prior for the Mid-Atlantic Lieutenancy, who conferred the honors. Concelebrants included His Excellency, the Most Reverend Richard B. Higgins, AMS Episcopal Vicar for Veterans Affairs, and the Most Reverend F. Richard Spencer, AMS Episcopal Vicar for Europe and Asia. Pastoral duties kept His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, from attending.

The mission of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is to revive, in modern form, the ideals of the Crusades, with the ever-effective weapons of the Faith, the apostolate and Christian charity. More specifically, the Order’s purpose fosters the support and propagation of the Faith in the Holy Land, assistance to the missions of the Latin and Eastern Rites, provision for its charitable, cultural and social undertakings, and defense of the rights of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land.

The inductees expressed joy upon their investiture. Father Parisi said, “I’m delighted and honored. It’s a wonderful opportunity to join an organization that has provided a lot of very tangible support to the Church in the Holy Land, and the Latin Patriarch out of Jerusalem.”

Bishop Spencer said:

“The recipients of this honor have contributed beyond the call of duty and we are gratified by their service to God and to country. On behalf of His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, we rejoice in their selection and we look forward to their continued service in our archdiocese.”

To find out more about the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, visit: .


The AMS was created as an independent archdiocese by Pope John Paul II in 1985 as the only Catholic jurisdiction responsible for endorsing and granting faculties for priests to serve as chaplains in the U.S. military and VA Medical Centers.

AMS-endorsed chaplains serve at more than 220 U.S. military installations in 29 countries, making the AMS the nation’s only global archdiocese. AMS-endorsed chaplains also serve at 153 VA Medical Centers throughout the U.S.

The AMS service population also includes American Catholic civilians working for the federal government in 134 countries, but currently, due to limited resources, the AMS cannot adequately serve this population.

Worldwide, an estimated 1.8 million Catholics depend on the AMS to meet their spiritual and sacramental needs.

For more information on the Archdiocese for the Military Services, visit, the only official Web site for Catholics in the military and for the Cause of Father Vincent Capodanno, M.M.