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Sutersville couple honored by Diocese of Greensburg

| Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011

A Sutersville couple received a prestigious honor from the Diocese of Greensburg for their commitment and dedication to the Catholic church.

Dr. William F. and Mary Ryckman were honored by Diocese of Greensburg Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt at a ceremony conferring diplomas for Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

The service was held Oct. 9 at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg.

The Ryckmans are members of Holy Family Parish in West Newton.

The chivalric order dates back to 1099, and the First Crusade, according to the Diocese of Greensburg.

It was first approved by Pope Callistus II in 1122, establishing members as a lay religious community with specific responsibilities of guarding the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre and the city of Jerusalem in defense of Christianity.

The order's objectives today are to strengthen the Christian life of its members, to support the Latin-rite Patriarch of Jerusalem, and to support the Christian presence in the Holy Land by rendering material aid and offering prayers for peace.

Membership to the order is made upon nomination by current members.

In addition, candidates must be practicing Catholics in good standing who frequently receive the sacraments, have a long-standing record of excellent service and fidelity to the church and are known to their pastor; must be personally known by their nominator; must be worthy of recognition for service to the church, community and others; and should exemplify charity, courtesy, loyalty, largesse and gentility in their conduct.

The promotions in rank and the investiture of new members took place Oct. 1 at Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, N.Y.

The Ryckmans said they are proud to be among the group promoted to the order. "We have the ability to assist in the maintenance of the Holy Land even though we have yet to get there," the couple said.

William Ryckman, a retired physician, and Mary, a nurse for the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer, said they attend daily Mass and participate in their parish Bible study and "as much as possible act as good examples for others to follow."

"We financially support our parish and actively participate in many parish activities. We are supporters of the Opus Bono Sacredotii organization, which helps priests who are in need," Ryckman said.

The couple has five children, William, Ronald, David, Jon and Jennifer.

The couple is active in parish ministries at their church. William is a cantor, choir member, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, lector, Holy Name Society member, bingo coordinator and parish ministries coordinator.

His wife is a lector, choir and pastoral council member.

Among the church-related members are the St. Gianna Sodality at Our Lady of Grace Parish and diocese's St. Luke Society.

William is a member of the Knights of Columbus, deputy Grand Knight, Belle Vernon Council 3026; comptroller of Bishop Phalen Assembly 911; coordinator of Vatican International Eucharistic Miracles poster display; and coordinator of events for Sisters of the Divine Redeemer's Days of Reflection.

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