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Grand Lecturer’s Convention in Suffolk Masonic District

The R:.W:. Richard Friedman, the Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, visited the Suffolk Masonic District this past Saturday, March 26th, 2022.

The Convention was held at Riverhead Lodge and hosted by Peconic Lodge No. 349.

The convention kicked off at 2 PM led by our DDGM, R:.W:. Jeff Santorello. The Grand Lecturer made some opening comments and we launched directly into the first part of the 1st degree.

The Convention was very well attended and it seemed that the Brothers in attendance learned quite a bit from the Grand Lecturer’s instruction during the exemplification of the 1st degree.

All participants in the exemplification did a fantastic job. Prior to the close of the GL Convention, the Grand Lecturer distributed some overdue Potts Awards for 2 lodges from past GL Conventions. Afterward, attendance was taken and Riverhead Lodge won the attendance award with 14 members in attendance.

The Convention closed and the Grand Lecturer and the DDGM thanked all for their attendance and filling the Lodge room with Brothers eager to learn and/or improve their ritual.

Following the GL Convention the District MAGLA competition was held. This year 3 Brothers who had not yet attained the rank of WM and 2 that had competed in 2 categories.

The ritual was excellent by all but a winner had to be chosen by the judges to represent Suffolk District at the Metro regional MAGLA and hopefully are the jurisdictional Ritual excellence competition.

The winners of this years District MAGLA:

W:. Joseph Lombardo – Star of the East Lodge No. 843 in the W:. and above category

Bro. Michael Stegmeier  – Connetquot Lodge No. 838 in the not W:. category

We wish them both best of luck and we know they will represent the District well in the Metro regionals at Grand Lodge.

After the competition all enjoyed a delicious meal arranged by Peconic Lodge no. 349. All seemed to enjoy the day and the festivities after.

Finally a hearty thank you should be extended to the District AGLs:

V:.W:. Bill De Benedetto

V:.W:. Bruce A.T. Siska

V:.W:. Gill Kruse

They worked long and hard on assuring all gained in Masonic knowledge and enjoyed the GL Convention.

Lots of Changes for 2022…a recap

2021 and 2022 have been very unique years for all and especially Freemasonry. The pandemic had us staying home and trying to organize online video meetings and such just to keep in touch with our brothers. This also gave rise to brainstorming on how we could improve some aspects of the way we do things.

To many Brothers, nothing is more grating a sound to the ears than hearing the phrase “because that is how we always did it”. Now there is always or should always be a consideration for the past. But let’s face it, not everything that worked 20 or more years ago works today.

We often hear that everything moves slowly in Freemasonry. Well, that may be true but the last 2 or so years have seen a paradigm shift in this thinking. Over the last 2 years WMs, District, and GL officers had to “think quickly” and come up with solutions to problems that were neither anticipated nor considered frankly. This led to changes that for the most part were good for the Fraternity or maybe the jury is still out on some.

One change has focused on communications and how lodges, at least in our district, have “solved” or at least attempted to solve. How to keep all who wish “in the loop” when it comes to events and what other lodges are doing. Although it may seem that each lodge is an island unto itself, we cannot allow this to happen. Working in isolated silos works against all our interests. What works for a lodge to help them with members, finances, etc. should not be kept secret and should be shared.

The LIPMA (Long Island Past Masters Assoc.) has been attempting to help facilitate that sharing and collaboration we should be seeing. One way they are doing that is to try and have a consolidated outlet of news and information to distribute to all members of the Suffolk District or others. Some have embraced this and others have not yet. Having a consolidated events calendar is the first focus.

A one-stop-shop for all events happening at Lodges and concordant bodies in and around the Suffolk District. This includes obtaining tickets to paid events and fundraisers. Instead of waiting for tickets to be mailed to a member or lodge, they can go and pick them up anytime they like, 24/7/365. LIPMA even went the extra mile on this to assure that those that post events/fundraisers get their funds from the event quickly and electronically. Several have already taken advantage of this system and are either in progress or soon will be. You can check out events and purchase tickets anytime anywhere by going here and finding the upcoming events you would like to attend -> Suffolk District Events

Another change you may notice is communication on the District BAND. Brothers are signing on and sharing experiences and what’s happening at their lodges, requesting assistance, or just joshing with Brother online. The monthly newsletter is also back and hopefully, many brothers are receiving it and have a look at the goings-on around the District and the jurisdiction and beyond. The Grand Lodge of New York is also collaborating with CraftsmanOnline.com to bring excellent education to anyone who desires it. If you are not getting the District News Letter, you can sign up for that on suffolkmasons.com or go here -> Craftsmen Online – Suffolk Masonic District (suffolkmasons.com) and look for the blue mailbox with the S&Q and type in your email address.

It only took 22 years but it seems to me that Freemasonry is finally taking bold steps into the 21st century.

So here is the recap:

  • The suffolkmasons.com for the Suffolk Masonic District is new and improved.
  • Online ticket sales have taken off and received well by most. (don’t forget to purchase your tickets for the upcoming District Dinner at Polish Hall).
  • every day new members join the District Band. The BAND is for members only and updates the suffolkmasons.com events calendar daily. Feel free to add your Lodge events to the Suffolk District BAND so they can be published on the District Website.
  • Post articles of interest on the BAND and they may make it onto the website. Be sure and give credit for yourself and any contributors including photo credits.
  • The Suffolkmasons.com site is encrypted and secured, so feel comfortable with using it.

All of these solutions are for the brothers of the district and set up for your use. We are hoping for others to wade in and also think outside the square so to speak and find solutions that work and share these with your brothers. Everybody has ideas and we must seek that noble contention, or emulation, of who can best work and best agree.

A united front on getting information out to the District is critical. Too many times I have heard that “I didn’t hear about this” phrase. In this day in age there is no reason for that. Any member can post to the BAND and add to the calendar. Yes it’s moderated so we must remember our obligations when posting but there is no reason why brothers should be lacking information. I mean come on; we hold in our hands the aggregate sum of all human knowledge on a daily basis. if you didn’t hear about an event then chances are you didn’t want to hear about it.

If you would like more information about some of the changes or to recommend some, please get in touch. Leave a comment below reach out on BAND or send me and email, webmaster@suffolkmasons.com

 

The Silent Summons

V:.W:. Brother Bruce Siska posted this on BAND and I always like this portrayal or story. I thought it should see a wider audience. So here it is, thank you V:W:. Siska for posting.

A member of a certain Lodge, who previously attended meetings regularly, stopped going. After a few months, the Worshipful Master decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening, and the Worshipful Master found his brother at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.
Guessing the reason for the Worshipful Master’s visit, the brother welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace, and waited. The Worshipful Master made himself comfortable but said nothing.

In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After several minutes, the Worshipful Master took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember, and placed it to one side of the hearth, all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

His host watched all of this in quiet contemplation. As the one, lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow, and its fire was no more. Soon, it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The Worshipful Master glanced at his watch and chose this time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember, and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately, it began to glow once more, with all the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the Worshipful Master reached the door to leave, his host said, with a tear running down his cheek, “Thank you so much for your fiery summons, my brother. I’ll be back in our Lodge next meeting.”

— Author Unknown

 

WB George Washington visits Smithtown Lodge No. 1127

The 18th C. came alive last night at Smithtown Lodge when an unexpected guest arrived.

None other than Bro. George Washington (W:. Bill Mountzouros)! He, with the able assistance of Bro. Gary Gudzik, DSA, entertained and ENLIGHTENED the Brethren.

The topic was Civility and proper comportment, in the very words of Bro. George (see slide-in photo).

Feb 2022 School of Instruction

Suffolk District AGLs V:.W:. Bill Debenedetto and V:.W:. Gil Kruse came out last night to Potunk Lodge #1071 for a School of Instruction. On the agenda was to discuss and get info on the Drama of the 3rd degree.

Brothers from Potunk Lodge, Riverhead Lodge, Smithtown Lodge, Suffolk 60 and others all joined in the discussion and ritual.

All had a very enlightening evening and are looking forward to the next.

 

Craftsmen Online

Brothers the Craftsmen Online has taken another great step to bring substantial Masonic content to every Freemason. The Grand Master, M:.W:. Richard Kessler recently chatted with Craftsmen Online about his vision for Freemasonry.

You can get to Craftsmen Online and all their content here -> CraftsmenOnline.com

FROM Grand Lodge of New York:

We are very excited to announce our grand lodges partnership with the Craftsmen Online. To kick off our first conjoined program we bring you the Grand Master! This also was shot with a video segment you can see on their website. We will have a wide range of programming coming to you over the next weeks with access and insight to our Grand Lodge as never before.

Listen to “Craftsmen Online Podcast” on Spreaker.

2022 MDC Registration is open

Brothers,

The Grand Lodge Staff Officer is responsible for Education and Leadership in the Suffolk Masonic District. Please see below the schedule for The Masonic Development Course

 

Babylon Lodge

Wednesday, March 16, 2022-7:00 PM

Wednesday, March 30, 2022-7:00 PM

Wednesday, April 6, 2022-7:00 PM

Riverhead Lodge

Saturday, April 9, 2022-9:00 AM

Saturday, April 2, 2022-9:00 AM

Saturday, March 19, 2022-9:00 AM

The scope of this course is to bring Knowledge of each of the Three Masonic Degrees, regarding Ritual, History, and symbolic meaning of Masonry to New and Old members of the Fraternity.

 

This course is offered both East and West with different times for your convenience. If you are unable to attend a session at Babylon Lodge, the same course is offered the Following Saturday at Riverhead and so on with Sessions 2 & 3.  You must complete all three sessions to receive your Certification.

 

This course is free.  Please fill out the Registration form online below or open and print the form and mail it back to me as soon as possible.

The cutoff date for registration is March 13th, 2022.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or call me at 516.398.3577.

Sincerely and Fraternally,

R∴W∴ Robert Licata

Grand Sword Bearer

email: glso@suffolkmasons.com

2022 Masonic Development Course Registration and Information Form

Lodge Name and Number- choose one

Choose which Lodge you would like to attend the course at


Alternatively: Open/Print the MDC Registration and mail it to the GLSO

Click Here to open/download the MDC Registration form.

You can then print it and mail it in to the GLSO, instructions on the form.

Lets get ready to RUMBLE – with Masonic Education

2021 is coming to a close in a just a few weeks, the holidays will be here before we know it and our busy schedules will be strained to the breaking point. Its a yearly routine and as we all know the last 24 months has been anything but routine. Hopefully things will be rocking and rolling by February as this is the beginning of the Road to the East course, followed by the Masonic Development Course. The Road to the East (RTE) is a required course for all who seek to be installed in the east in the near future. The Masonic Development Course (MDC) is a great course for new Brothers to take to get a deeper dive into Freemasonry. Some older more seasoned Brothers are also welcome to reacquaint yourselves with the basics of Freemasonry and take the MCD as well.

If you plan to take either or both courses, you will need to contact R∴W∴ Robert Licata, GLSO. You can email him here -> GLSO

 

GLSO sets dates for RTE – MCD and Masters Chair

Brothers,

The Suffolk Grand Lodge Staff officer, R:.W;. Bob Licata, has set the dates for the RTE (Road to the East), the MCD (Masonic Development Course) and the Master’s Chair.

The RTE Course is required for Officers who are expected to be elected and Installed in the East in the coming year or two. However any Master Mason may sit for the course. The RTE is a course designed to educate upcoming officers on how a Lodge should operate, Masonic Law and several other topics.

The MDC (Masonic Development Course) is a class that any Master Mason may take. It is designed for newer Master Masson to learn more of the history and basics of our Craft.

The Master’s Chair of course is a required 1 day session for all newly elected and not yet invested or installed Worshipful Masters of individual Lodges. So all Brothers sitting as SW in a Lodge this year (2021-2022) if you are expected to be elected to preside in the East for 2022-2023 or beyond, you should lock this date into your calendar and make sure you are there. Those that may have taken this course in the past as you have already been in the East, you should take it again.

All dates are on the BAND Calendar as well as the website calendar. Set your reminders and RSVP to the GLSO, R:.W:. Robert Licata at glso@suffolkmasons.com for any of the courses listed.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights and Freemasonry

The Constitution and Bill of Rights and Freemasonry

Written by:
Wilfred G. “Bill” Soutiea, Jr., Grand Master (1999-2000)
Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Missouri
and
Phillip G. “Phil” Elam, Grand Orator (1999-2000)
Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Missouri
(Undelivered Grand Oratory for the 179th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Missouri.)
Edited for Lodge by: W:. William Arnold, WM, Potunk Lodge #1071 (2021)

 

What is patriotism -– this almost universal instinct for which more men have given their lives than for any other cause, and which counts more martyrs among its ranks than religion itself? What is this potent sentiment that has produced so many great and splendid deeds of heroic bravery and unselfish devotion? What is this driving force that has fostered liberty, won independence, and advanced civilization?

The dictionary tells us that a patriot is “one whose ruling passion is the love of his country,” and that patriotism is “love and zeal for one’s country.”

John Paul Jones, a most worthy Freemason, and America’s first naval hero, called himself “a citizen of the world.” Though a Scotsman by birth, he fought for the Colonies because he believed they stood for a broader form of patriotism than had ever before been attained by any group of men. He stood for America because he regarded America as standing for “man as man.” Love of country is a most noble passion, but love of man, as directed by the Great Architect of the Universe, is even more noble.

True patriotism is, however, a thinking patriotism. It is a sacred entity. No noise, however great, no shouts, however thrilling, no hurrahs, however enthusiastic, no blare of brass bands, no flaming fireworks, or no strenuous stump speeches can begin to tell what true and genuine patriotism is really about. True patriotism is a great, calm, and altogether lovely and holy thing, that worships God and loves its fellow men. It is a consecration of high ideals, and it is the hallowing of a man’s entire soul in a most holy cause.

Americanism can easily be defined by the Declaration of Independence, which, basing its doctrine upon the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” asserts the rights of man in one immortal sentence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principals and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

Is there any doubt to any Freemason who reads those words, and those in our Bill of Rights and Constitution, would fail to recognize them as Masonically-inspired documents – not because of the great number of Freemasons who wrote or influenced them, but because they embody the living and time-honored tenets, precepts, and principles of our Ancient Craft.

We Americans are the freest people on the face of the earth. Our strength rests in our patriotism, and anarchy flees before its Shining Light. Peace, order, security and liberty are safe so long as love of country burns bright in the hearts of our people.

We could call the role of nations, asking of each what it had or has to give of Beauty and of Truth to mankind. Each country will have its own contribution, and the citizens of that country should be justly proud. Even so, our country has a genius that is truly unique. What is that service to mankind if it is not to show, not only “government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the face of the earth,” but that it is the highest ideals in government, and that it makes for the greatest happiness of man, both in private nobility and public welfare?

Of that genius and service our flag is the emblem, and loyalty to that emblem is demonstrated in our devotion to it. As Freemasons, our field is the world, but our solicitude is to our own country – as it makes its unique and priceless contribution to universal good. With due reverence for other nations, and by loyalty to our own flag, we best serve the human race.

Every Freemason in these United States should understand that Freemasonry, as an institution, has always been an integral part of America’s history and destiny. An understanding of this will enable any Freemason to accurately state the relationship between Freemasonry and Americanism. His life and example should evince the fact that to be a good Freemason is to be a good American. For Americanism, we are most proud to proclaim, is the latter day effort to embody our age-old Masonic idealism into law and practice for the just governing of an entire nation.

It was Freemasonry in a pre-eminent degree that so tenderly, and yet so resolutely, cradled democracy in the first eventful years of America’s history. In confirmation of this fact, we need mention only a few of the many illustrious names written on the pages of both Masonic records and American history – names like Wor. Bro. George Washington, Most Wor. Bro. Ben Franklin, Most Wor. Bro. Joseph Warren, and Bro. Lafayette, the hero of two countries!

Some names I just mentioned most or all of you know, one may be unknown to you. Dr. Joseph Warren. Why would I single out Dr. Warren from the rest of these illustrious names?

Dr. Joseph Warren (June 11, 1741 – June 17, 1775 – 35 years old) was an American physician who played a leading role in American Patriot organizations in Boston in the early days of the American Revolution, eventually serving as President of the revolutionary Massachusetts Provincial Congress. Warren enlisted Paul Revere and William Dawes on April 18, 1775, to leave Boston and spread the alarm that the British garrison in Boston was setting out to raid the town of Concord and arrest rebel leaders John Hancock and Samuel Adams. Warren participated in the next day’s Battles of Lexington and Concord, which are commonly considered to be the opening engagements of the American Revolutionary War.

Warren had been commissioned a Major General in the colony’s militia shortly before the June 17, 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill. Rather than exercising his rank, Warren served in the battle as a private soldier, and was killed in combat when British troops stormed the redoubt atop Breed’s Hill. His death, immortalized in John Trumbull’s painting, The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, June 17, 1775, galvanized the rebel forces. He has been memorialized in the naming of many towns, counties and other locations in the United States, by statues, and in numerous other ways.

We fail to grasp the full significance of the noble record of those selfless and illustrious Brethren of our Order who took such prominent roles in Revolutionary days if we see it only as a source of pride and gratification. It is all of this, of course, but it is much, much more – for every page of America’s early history imposes duty, obligation and responsibility.

Dr. Joseph Warren’s Death at Breed’s Hill 1775

If it is true, and records indicate it as such, American nationality was largely brought about by Freemasons, and that to this end, the energies of the entire Craft were devoted to this grand cause in the trying times of the Revolution. If our predecessors gave ‘their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” to start our Republic on its glorious path, surely, we can best honor and prove true the traditions of American Freemasonry by continuing the work they began. Our advantages, if not our opportunities, are even greater than theirs. The small and isolated Fraternity of that day has become a powerful Order – and it can exercise a mighty leverage for civic progress and reform.

The most noble lesson taught us by the Freemasons of the American Revolution is this: To place patriotism above partisanship, to preserve and extend the free institutions of the Republic, to maintain the honor and dignity of the Nation at home and abroad, and to realize the lofty ideals of our Eighteenth Century Brethren, bequeathing them as a priceless national heritage for generations of Americans yet unborn.

Freemasons, who teach so much by symbols, point with pride to the part Freemasonry played in establishing the greatest symbol known among all free nations – the Stars and Stripes we so fondly call “Old Glory.”

The most sacred symbol of any people is their flag, and in an hour of crisis and destiny, the old emblem becomes instinct with all of its lofty and holy meanings. In that flag is the soul of each nation, the outward and visible sign of its invisible and invincible spirit. The very body and blood of a free people are in the folds of its flag, and when it is unfurled, the soul of the nation stands proudly erect.

Historical Flags of the United States

On June 14th, 1777, Congress officially adopted this flag, changing the number of stars to thirteen and arranging them in a circle. The wording of this famous resolution is as follows:

“Resolved, that the Flag of the United States be thirteen stripes alternate red and white, and that the Union be thirteen stars white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

The colors blend in our Flag to make it the sanctifying symbol of Unity, Fraternity and Goodwill among men. It is the Flag of Freedom and Friendship woven of the mystic cords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, proclaiming the time-glorified principles wrought out by the tears, prayers and blood of our early American forefathers.

As Freemasons, we can fully appreciate the words of President Calvin Coolidge:

 

“We do honor to the stars and stripes as the emblem of our country and the symbol of all that our patriotism means. We identify the flag with almost everything we hold dear on earth. It represents our peace and security, our civil and political liberty, our freedom of religious worship, our family, our friends, our home. We see it in the great multitude of blessings, of rights and privileges that make up our country. But, when we look at our flag and behold it emblazoned with all our rights, we must remember that it is equally a symbol of our duties. Every glory that we associate with it is the result of duty done.”

Freemasons preach and firmly believe in the right to think, the right to speak, the right to worship in freedom and as conscience alone shall dictate, but how many Freemasons truly know what these things mean – how many really believe in them? How many believe in them so firmly that they are willing to fight for them, live for them, and die to defend them if need be? These things, when mentioned, sound decidedly like those principles of Americanism the soldiers, sailors and airmen of our country so nobly protect. If our Masonic Fraternity stands for these principles, whole-heartedly and unafraid, then we should use our Beloved Order as the greatest force of all time for the continued up-building of America – individually, one Brother at a time.

The real challenge to us as Freemasons is to prove our worth and show cause why our Ancient Order should continue to exist in today’s society. The cry of the hour within Freemasonry is for leadership – leadership within both our Lodges and our communities. Committed and moral leaders who will do “the right thing,” and who are not afraid to show their patriotism and love of country. Leaders who are so filled with inspiration and consecration to the development of true citizenship – for the sake of America — that they will forget both self and self-interest to work for the further attainment of the very Masonic principles on which our country was founded.

As Freemasons, we need, as never before, a clear and commanding conception of what America really means. It would be a poor Freemason, and no patriot at all, who has not asked himself what plan, what purpose, what prophecy the Great Architect of the Universe is trying to work out through our national destiny. Surely, America exists to build in the new world a community based upon the God-given principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth – a community united, just and free, where men of every race and creed may live and live well because they freely choose moral fellowship under a sense of common interest and obligation.

Commitment to that ideal is true patriotism, and, perhaps, that is the greatest gift Freemasonry can give to the world as we step into the 21st century and a new millennium. The histories of America and of Freemasonry have always been inseparably intertwined for the betterment of mankind and to the glory of the Supreme Grand Master of the Universe – and may it ever be so.

Finally, we would like to share some words thought to have been written by an unidentified Revolutionary soldier and Brother Master Mason. It is a simple, yet profound, prayer written by the very type of man and Freemason that made this country great, and describes the purpose of Freemasonry better than the most eloquent orator could ever hope to do.

These are inspirational words that every Freemason working in the quarry of life can live by, and words that demonstrate the true patriotism of a simple soldier who looked beyond his own needs even in the hardest and most dangerous of times:

“Oh, Thou, who hast called us out of Darkness to be the bearers of Light; we beseech Thee to make us helpers in the world. Take away from us the love of ease, and fear of mortal men. Show us the simple things that we can do to help our neighbors, our families and our country. Brighten the daily round of tasks that we have undertaken and are tempted to neglect. Make us faithful to the trust that life has put upon us; hold us to the humblest duty.

“Prepare our hearts in sympathy to be partners in suffering with the weak; partners in eager service with the strong.

“Reveal to us the wavering ranks of those that are struggling upward that we may cheer and support our comrades unknown. Remove from us the love of glory and the thirst for praise. Give us, in weariness, refreshment, and in strength, peace; but when we are idle, send shame, and when we are false, send fear, to bring us back to Thee. By Thy Love restrain our censorious speech and teach us to commend. By Thy Divine Wisdom enlighten our plans, and direct our endeavors for the common wealth. And give to us the vision of that bright City of God, the New Jerusalem upon Earth, where all men may share the best they have, in thought and in deed, and where none shall harm or make afraid.

“And establish Thou the work of our hands; yes, the work of our hands establish Thou it.”

To these stirring words from the innermost desires of this early American patriot and Freemason for both his young country and for all of mankind, we can only most humbly add –

So Mote It Be.