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Catholic Life Features

Local priests inducted into sacred order

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On Sunday, Nov. 22, Father Michael Zuffoletto, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Buffalo, and Father Martin Gallagher, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Charity in Buffalo, were invested in the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George in St. Anthony of Padua Church. Both were nominated for induction into the order in recognition of their many years of charitable work. Presiding at the ceremony was Father Michael Barone of Newark, N.J., with Brandon Young, executive director of the order’s U.S. and Canadian delegations, as master of ceremonies. The ceremony was held at the command of His Royal Highness, Prince Carlo Maria Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro, grand master of the order.

The symbolic roots of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George are shrouded in ancient history and medieval legend. St. George, a Christian born in Asia Minor around 270, became a military officer in the Imperial Army. In 303, he publicly tore down one of the Emperor Diocletian’s edicts against Christians, an act which led to his torture and eventual martyrdom.

Over the centuries, many legends were told about St. George. Early Orthodox iconography depicts him slaying a dragon. In the Middle Ages, he came to be known as the patron of knights. St. George was venerated in the East from about 350.

In 312, some years after St. George’s martyrdom, the Emperor Constantine, on the eve of his victorious battle at the Milvian Bridge in Rome, had a vision of the cross and the words “In hoc signo vinces” (By this sign you shall conquer). He ordered a labarum (a square banner suspended from a horizontal bar attached to a vertical spear) constructed bearing the Greek monogram XP (for “Christos”). His armies defeated those of Maxentius and Christians were no longer persecuted in Rome. The Christianization of Italy and the rest of Europe followed.

The order maintains a close historic and continued working relationship with the Apostolic See, the Italian Republic, the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, sovereign royal houses and governments across the world.

The Sacred Military Constantinian Order, in keeping with the times, today emphasizes major contributions to the two great social works, namely hospitaller assistance and the charitable relief of the poor. In recent years the order has also played a significant role in interreligious dialogue initiatives between Christians, Muslims and Jews.

Knights and dames of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George must be practicing Roman Catholics and in good standing with the Church. They must also fulfill two basic principles as part of their membership of the worldwide confraternity: work for the glorification of the Christian Cross and promote the spiritual and physical welfare of the sick and disabled, the poor, the homeless and the illiterate.

The Constantinian Order maintains official delegations in many parts of the world. The order is headquartered in Rome and Naples and maintains offices in every region of Italy.

Father Michael Barone (center) from Newark, N.J., poses with Father Michael Zuffoletto (left) and Father Martin Gallagher just after investing them into the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George iat St. Anthony of Padua Church. Father Zuffoletto and Father Gallagher were invited to join the order due to their charitable work through the years. Photo courtesy of Father Michael Zuffoletto

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