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A Beacon Of Light… A New March For Life

January 31, 2023 Frontpage No Comments


(Editor’s Note: Fr. Richard D. Breton Jr. is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn. He received his BA in religious studies and his MA in dogmatic theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn.)

  • + + On January 20, 2023, the yearly March for Life looked and felt different. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision that had legalized abortion in the nation. In fact, in his homily for the Opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life, His Excellency, the Most Rev. Michael F. Burbidge, bishop of Alexandria, Va., applauded the court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
    He also reminded us that our job as pro-lifers is not complete, but is just the beginning. The road ahead isn’t easy. The contribution of every Catholic — bishops, priest, religious, and the laity — is needed as we move forward. The future involves teaching how precious life is, but especially that of the innocent child in the womb. As a Church we need to be visible in assisting those who are struggling with unplanned or difficult pregnancies. We do this through welcoming expectant mothers and offering to help them with their needs. The Church has so many resources to assist single pregnant mothers to have their babies.
    In another way, the March for Life had a mysterious feel this year. This was because there was the presence of the Catholic Templars Today, also known as Templars Today. These men and women donned themselves in cloaks of white or black all adorned with a red cross. The significance of the white cloak was to symbolize the knight’s purity of thought and faith, chastity of thought and deeds, and the necessity to fight for holy causes. The red cross on their cloaks is a sign of martyrdom, the ultimate sacrifice of giving one’s life for the faith.
    At the Mass they positioned themselves along the columns of the side aisles and stood there for the entire Mass protecting the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, the bishop, priests, and faithful, but, more important, the Eucharist.
    History has shown there was such a group called Knights Templar. These knights lived around the thirteenth century during the time of the Crusades. They were considered a monastic order of knights who were called upon to protect the pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem and other holy places. The Knights Templar were also protectors of the ancient holy churches. They fought off the desecration and destruction of these holy places.
    There is a book by Barbara Frale entitled: The Templars: The Secret History Revealed. Her book addresses the history and authenticity of the Templars Today through her study of the ancient Chinon Parchment which describes the importance the image of the Shroud of Turin has in the life of the Templars. Basically, Templars are called to see the face of Christ in the poor and oppressed.
    The ancient times in which the Templars lived and fought, is not very different than today. We live in a time where the faith needs protection from the onslaught of the power of relativism. The faith needs to be protected today just as it was in the Middle Ages. As the Templars of old protected the pilgrims on their journey to the Holy Land and other religious sites, so too, the Templars Today have the responsibility of protecting us, the faithful, on our journey to the Eternal Jerusalem.
    Today, however, the enemy is not as easily seen as an army attacking pilgrims or a sacred holy site, but the threat is still real. The fight exists within the culture that has removed anything Godlike. There is a battle raging that is trying to destroy the faith. We see this in the many desecrations that occur so frequently around us. It may be the destruction of a statue, a cemetery, or the graffiti written on a church building. The battle between good and evil has even entered our schools where after-school activities now include satanic groups. Yes, that is correct! School districts in our country allow satanic groups to meet and indoctrinate our children in these most evil ways. We need a way to fight this onslaught of evil in our times.
    The presence of the Catholic Templars in today’s society is one way we can come together and fight to defend the Church and our faith. The Templars Today, have as their vision, the safety of Mass-goers, the protection of church buildings and other sacred sites. In addition, they also stand guard before our Eucharistic Lord, and vow to protect Him at all costs. Their ministry is one of presence, protection, and welcome. They can usually be seen standing outside on each side of the church doors. Then, when entering the church they process two by two down the main aisle and salute the Eucharistic Lord by placing their hand over their heart. Then they take up their positions along the front of the sanctuary or down the side aisles of the church.
    I had the honor to gather with the Catholic Templars in Washington, D.C., at the March for Life for their retreat. While the Templars Today are mostly found in Italy, there is a growing number of people in the United States who are interested in this lay association of the faithful.
    Currently there are about 55 Templars in the United States who are dedicating themselves to this way of spiritual living. There were 18 who attended the March, of whom four came from Italy representing the Grand Master of the Templars. They live a simple spiritual life and promise to fast weekly, and promise to eat meat not more than three times per week and to always be ready to give their life for the faith. These actions of mortification are a means for them to offer sacrifice to the Lord. It is a visible sign that there are those fighting against the onslaught of religious persecution in our time.
    When a person wishes to enter the Temple, they must pass through a series of levels. First the candidates are welcomed and become novices. This period can last between anywhere from three months to three years. After a time as a novice, one becomes an armiger, or squire. This period of armiger lasts until the candidate feels ready to proceed forward to becoming a knight. The next level after armiger is miles, or knight. This level of becoming a knight of the temple is the last promotion a person can acquire themselves. There is another level, however, but it is bestowed on the Knight Templar for acts of service that go beyond the call of duty. This level is called Equis and its bestowal is based on one’s performance and dedication to the temple. The Equis honor is bestowed by the Grand Master of the Temple or another high-ranking temple member.

The Night Watch

One of the most moving aspects of the Templar spirituality is their love and devotion to the Eucharist. When you are promoted to a higher rank you must stand before the Eucharistic Lord in adoration. This is called the night watch. The night watch consists of either three or six hours standing during the night in total adoration. It is fascinating to see men and woman standing in the middle of the night just looking at Jesus.
You see, for them, this is so important because it is here they receive their strength. Many have spoken of spiritual experiences they had while doing the night watch. Each person experiences this night watch in their own way. Some have seen the flashing of light; others have felt like they were being eaten by mosquitos. Whatever their experience, it prepares them for whatever the Lord calls them to do as Templars. For us they are examples of how to submit ourselves to the Lord.
The motto of the Templars Today is: Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed Nomini tuo da gloriam. This is translated in English as: Not for us, My Lord, not for us, but to your name give the glory. This should be the motto of every one of the faithful because everything we do is only for the glory of God.
May we, like the Templars, defend the Church and the Eucharist with our lives!

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