May 7, 2016

For Altar and Throne: Investiture into the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George

Knights and Dames in full regalia at Holy Innocents Church, NYC
Photos by Achille Pirro
By Cav. John Napoli
Saturday, April 30th, I joined my fellow postulants at historic Holy Innocents Church in Manhattan (128 W 37th St.) for Mass and Investiture into the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George with the Royal Order of Francis I of the Royal House of Bourbon Two-Sicilies. Founded by Emperor Constantine after the appearance of the Cross at Saxa Rubra, the Order of St. George is considered one of the oldest Orders of Knighthood.

Receiving our instructions and distinctive church mantle, we processed before our ancient standard from the sacristy through the nave to the high altar. Taking our seats in the front pews, we were warmly welcomed by the congregation and our esteemed Delegate HE Cav. John M. Viola. 
The insignia of the order
The investiture began with the Magistral Decree, proclaimed by our Chancellor Cav. Pasquale Menna. We then professed our faith by reciting the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, followed by the blessing of the insignia, a crimson cross adorned with the order’s motto In Hoc Signo Vinces (In this sign you will conquer) and the Chi Rho monogram in gold lettering attached to a sky-blue ribbon. 
Called up to the altar, one by one we were awarded our insignia and bestowed the diploma of appointment. Robed by our brethren, we each kneeled before our venerable Chaplain of the Order Cav. Rev. Msgr. Joseph F. Ambrosio and received a blessing. We then venerated the relic of the True Cross before returning to our seats.
Msgr. Ambrosio concluded the rite with the Investiture Versicle. 
Retiring to the antechamber, we took a short recess before Mass. Awed by the whole experience, I was glad to have a moment to let the grandeur of it all sink in.
Our first official act as members of the order was celebrating Mass on the Feast Day of Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380). The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was sung by celebrant and homilist Msgr. Ambrosio, who spoke at length during his homily, about the great Saint and her impact on Christendom, as well as the misfortune that befell the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies during and after Italian unification. 
Historic Holy Innocents Church
The service was highlighted by a brilliant performance of Saverio Mercadante's (1795-1870) celebrated Mass for Three Voices by the Schola Cantorum of Holy Innocents. Mass concluded with a fantastic rendition of Inno al Re, the national anthem of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, composed by Giovanni Paisiello (1740-1816).
Afterward, celebrants attended a lavish reception at the luxurious Lotte New York Palace Hotel (455 Madison Ave.), where we enjoyed some Neapolitan music and a delicious buffet dinner with all the fixin's. We also had an opportunity to mingle and get to know some of our new Confratelli and Consorelle.
I would like to congratulate my fellow newly appointed Knights and Dames: Cav. Vincent Gangone, Cav. John J. Cafaro, Dama Janet Silvestri, Dr. Angelo Chinnici, Dr. Timothy DeZastro, Cav. Thomas Portelli, Dama Dr. Catherine Stevenson, Cav. Dr. Christopher Hipp, Cav. Dr. Allen Marchetti, Cav. Charles Sant’Elia, Cav. Anthony Schembri, Dama Linda Rose Carlozzi, Cav. Gregory Suchaneck, Dama Karen Reed Suchaneck, Cav. Rev. Msgr. Christopher J. Hynes, and Cav. Rev. Fr. Juan Daniel Peirano. 
I also want to congratulate the new Knights of the Royal Order of Francis I: Cav. Dr. Richard L. Cosnotti, Cav. Dr. Charles Michael Ridgdill, Cav. Mr. Mathew Dupee, Cav. Stephen Morris Williams, and Cav. Nicholas B.A. Nicholson.
Good luck and God Bless you all.
I want to personally thank HRH Prince Carlo Maria di Borbone delle Due Sicilie, Duke of Castro, head of the Royal House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, and Grand Master of the Dynastic Orders of the Royal House for this extraordinary opportunity; I promise to make the most of it. I am extremely proud and honored to be a part of the U.S. Delegation and look forward to serving the Royal Family.
Thank you Chancellor Cav. Pasquale Menna and Vice Chancellor Cav. Patrick O’Boyle for your friendship, guidance, and for believing in me. Special thanks to H.E. Cav. John M. Viola for your invaluable support and generosity. I am deeply indebted to all of you and eagerly anticipate working together. Viva ‘o Rre!
With their mantles draped over their arms, the postulants enter the nave 
Cav. Anthony J. O'Boyle had the honor of carrying the Order's flag
The celebrants make their way down the aisle
Msgr. Chris Hynes is invested as a Chaplain
of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George
Cav. John Napoli is blessed by Cav. Msgr. Ambrosio
Cav. John Napoli, Cav. Msgr. Ambrosio and Cav. Charles Sant'Elia
arrive at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel 
It didn't take long for partygoers to take out the flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. (L-R) Cav. Sant"Elia and Cav. Napoli with our esteemed Delegate H.E. Cav. John M. Viola and Chancellor Cav. l'On Pasquale Menna