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April 2, 1725, Venice (Republic of Venice, present day Italy) –

June 4, 1798 (Dux, Bohemia, Holy Roman Empire, present day Duchcov, Czech Republic)


The mores of eighteenth-century Venice were very different from those of today – intimate relations tended to be casual without any seriousness. Nobles married for social connections rather than love, so flirtations, bedroom games, and short-term liaisons were common. Venice was ruled by political and religious conservatives and social vices were encouraged, making it the pleasure capital of Europe. Young men coming of age made Venice a must on their European tour. Beautiful courtesans, gambling houses and the famous Carnival preceding Easter were powerful draws. This was the milieu in which Casanova grew up.


Giacomo Girolamo Casanova was the eldest child of six of Gaetano Casanova, an actor and dancer, and Zanetta Farussi, an actress. They were often away on tour, so he was brought up by his grandmother. When he was nine, he was sent to a boarding school in Padua and always resented how is parents “got rid of me.” He disliked the school’s poor conditions, so he appealed to Abbot Gozzi, one of his instructors, to take him in to live with his family which Gozzi did through Casanova’s teenage years. Bettina, one of Gozzi’s sisters, caressed him at age 11 awakening the “first sparks of a feeling which later became my ruling passion.” Casanova and Bettina, as well as the Gozzi family, remained lifelong friends.


Casanova had a quick mind and was perpetually inquisitive. He entered the University of Padua at age 12, graduated at 17 (1742) with a degree in law. His guardian Gozzi was hoping he would become an ecclesiastical lawyer. While at the university he also studied medicine, chemistry, moral philosophy, and became a serious gambler, often in debt. His grandmother recalled him to Venice hoping to break his habit, but she was unsuccessful. While in Venice he was made an abbot and took minor orders. With his 6’ 2” frame he was imposing for his era and became a dandy with long powdered, scented and elaborately curled, dark hair. (The average height for men of Casanova’s time was about 5’, a bit taller in the north, where nutritious food was more plentiful, than the south.)


Casanova was always in need of money, so he often ingratiated himself with a patron. His first was a Venetian senator, Alvise Gasparo Malipiero, who taught Casanova about good food and wine, and how to behave properly in society. Their association came to an abrupt end when Casanova was found dallying with Malipiero’s intended girlfriend, the actress Teresa Imer. This was the first of many scandals which created the persona as we know it today.


After he left Malipiero he entered a seminary for a short period of time but was soon imprisoned for his debts. He managed to become employed by the powerful Cardinal Acquaviva as a scribe, met Pope Benedict XIV, and wrote love letters for another cardinal. A scandal ensued while working for the cardinal which brought an abrupt end to his church career. He then decided to become a military officer for the Republic of Venice but left after a short time.


Now 21, broke and an inveterate gambler, he returned to an old benefactor, Alvise Grimani, and became a violinist at the San Samuele Theater thanks to Grimani’s intervention. He didn’t last long as a violinist as he got into trouble with his friends roaming the streets of Venice at night. Fate, however, would change his life.


While riding in a gondola one evening, one of the other riders, Venetian Senator Bragadin, had a heart attack. He was immediately bled and brought to his palace where the doctor put mercury ointment on his chest, a common remedy of the time. When Casanova saw the senator was getting worse and a priest was called for the last rights, Casanova removed the ointment and washed his chest. He recovered and Casanova was virtually adopted by the senator, invited him to live in his home, showered him with funds, allowing him to live like a playboy aristocrat, dressing well and gambling heavily. Bragadin became Casanova’s lifelong patron, but because of several scandals he had to flee Venice.


Casanova fled to Padua where he met the Frenchwoman Henriette, the love of his life. It was probably the most profound love he ever experienced, since Henriette combined beauty, intelligence and culture. The affair lasted three months. After a good gambling streak in Venice, he reached Paris in 1750. He became a member of the Lodge of the Duke of Clermont and a Master Mason, eventually achieving the highest degree of the Scottish Rite; he never had any Masonic censures against him from his lodge. He loved the secret rites and the men of intellect and influence he met as they would also prove useful providing valuable contacts. He stayed in Paris for two years, learned French, met many influential people, but because of his numerous liaisons, he had to flee Paris.


Casanova then traveled to Dresden, Prague and Vienna. He returned to Venice where the inquisitors blamed him for blasphemies, seductions, fights and public controversy. The inquisitors were also interested in his knowledge of cabalism, Freemasonry and his collection of forbidden books. His old friend, Senator Bragadin, told him to flee immediately or suffer stiff consequences. Sometime afterwards in Venice at age 30, Casanova was arrested for outrages against religion and common decency and was imprisoned for 5 years on the top floor of the Doge’s Palace, reserved for prisoners of higher status. Against extraordinary circumstances, he managed to escape and fled to Paris.

Realizing his stay in Paris this time would be longer than previously, he had to be more calculating and deliberate, especially as he needed a new patron. This was an old friend, Cardinal François-Joachim de Pierre de Bernis, a nobleman from a poor family, now Foreign Minister of France, who told him he should think of a means of raising funds for the state to gain favor. He became a trustee of the state lottery and quickly earned a large fortune because he was a wonderful salesman. With this money he traveled in high circles with new seductions. Because of his excellent memory he duped many with his occultism and numerology. He claimed to be a Rosicrucian and alchemist which made him popular with many prominent figures of the era such as Voltaire (a Freemason) and Madame de Pompadour (official mistress of Louis XV). He was soon asked to sell state bonds in Amsterdam and was rich enough to found a silk manufacturing company the following year. Unfortunately, he ran the company poorly, along with spending on his new conquests, and ran into debt. He was again imprisoned for his debts but was released on the insistence of a good friend and he fled to Holland. He was not safe there either and was on the run fleeing to Cologne, Stuttgart, Einsiedeln (Switzerland), Marseille, Genoa, Florence, Rome, Naples, Modena, Turin, back to Paris and then England. By 1760 he was calling himself the Chevalier de Seingalt or the Count de Farussi (his mother’s maiden name). During this time Pope Clement XIII presented him with the Papal Order of the Éperon d’Or (Order of the Golden Spur) which is rarely bestowed and given to those who have rendered distinguished service by promoting the Catholic faith or having contributed to the glory of the Church by armed defense, by writing or by some other noble achievement. (Other recipients have been Raphael and Mozart.)


He wasn’t too fond of the English mainly because he didn’t speak English well, and travelled on to Moscow and St. Petersburg. In Russia he met with Catherine the Great, and tried to sell her on his lottery ideas, but she was not interested. From there he went on to Warsaw, then Breslau (Prussia) and Dresden. By now he had a venereal infection, and his health was declining. That did not stop him from traveling on to Spain to meet Charles III thanks to well-placed contacts, often Freemasons.


He was allowed to return to Venice after an eighteen-year exile but found Venice had changed and he was not as dynamic a citizen there as he once was. He learned his mother had died and soon afterwards, Bettina Gozzi died in his arms. The Inquisitors of Venice put him on the payroll as a spy, one of his more important investigations was the commerce between the papal states and Venice. Things eventually did not go well so he fled again to Paris, this time meeting Benjamin Franklin. (One of their discussions included hot air balloons). He then went on to Vienna where he met Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart’s librettist. Casanova spoke with Da Ponte and it’s possible their discussion found its way into the libretto for Mozart’s opera, Don Giovanni, since the opera is based on a fictional libertine and seducer, Don Juan.


A reversal of fortune forced the aging Casanova, now 60, to accept the position of librarian to Count Joseph Karl von Waldstein, a chamberlain to the emperor, at Dux Castle in Bohemia (Duchcov in the present day Czech Republic.) It was a lonely, boring and frustrating job and he became ill-tempered often fighting with the staff, even over how to cook pasta! But he was well paid, and it became his more productive time for writing. His health was also deteriorating dramatically. He did manage to visit Prague in 1787 to meet again with Lorenzo Da Ponte and see the first production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, considered to be one of Mozart’s masterpieces. (His other operatic masterpieces are Così fan Tutte, The Marriage of Figaro, and the Magic Flute, his Masonic opera.)


In 1797 he learned Napoleon Bonaparte had seized Venice, the republic ceased to exist, and it was too late for him to return home to Venice. Thirteen years after his arrival, Casanova died at Dux and was buried in the cemetery of St. Barbara’s church. His exact gravesite is unknown.


While at Dux, Casanova wrote his memoirs, Histoire de Ma Vie (Story of My Life), in French because it was the language of eighteenth-century intellectuals, and he wanted as wide a readership as possible. He bequeathed his memoirs to his nephew whose descendants later sold it to the German publisher, Friedrich Brockhaus of Leipzig. The Brockhaus family kept it for the next 140 years under lock and key, and miraculously, it survived the allied bombings of Leipzig during World War II. In 2010 the 3,700-page original manuscript was acquired by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (French National Library) after some ferocious bidding for $9.6 million, a new record for a manuscript. The French consider it a national treasure because it is an intimate chronicle of eighteenth-century France where Casanova spent a great deal of his adult life. (When it was first published in 1821 in highly censored form it was placed on the Vatican’s Index of Prohibited Books.) The first uncensored edition in French was published in 1960, and the English translation in 1966. (His letters, saved by the Waldstein family, are in the State Regional Archive in Prague.)


Casanova was recognized by his contemporaries for his far-ranging intellect and curiosity. (Today he is surrounded by so much myth many think he was a fictional character.) He was religious, a devout Catholic, believed in prayer but was also a participant in secret societies and sought answers beyond the conventional. During his lifetime he was a lawyer, clergyman, military officer, violinist, con man, gourmand, dancer, businessman, gambler, astrologer, diplomat, spy, politician, medic, mathematician, social philosopher, cabalist, playwright, translator (The Iliad into the Venetian dialect) and writer (a science fiction novel, a protofeminist pamphlet, and several mathematical treatises). He, like Brother Benjamin Franklin, was a genuine polymath.


Respectfully Submitted,


Br. Richard Gentile

Jephtha Lodge No. 494

Huntington, NY


On Tuesday, October 3rd, W Robert Florio and the Brothers of Old Town Lodge #908 attended the School of Instruction hosted by Riverhead Lodge #645. While in attendance, the Brethren were able to abscond with the Suffolk Masonic District’s Traveling Gavel! Congratulations to Old Town on the successful steal! Who will get it next? Stay tuned….


Continuing its tradition of Traveling and supporting Masonic events throughout the Metropolitan Region, Brothers of the Suffolk Masonic District attended the First Capitular District Festive Board, which was held at Grand Lodge on Wednesday, November 29th. The well-attended event was a resounding success and enjoyed by all.

RW Peter Stokke presented with official portrait

On Monday, November 6th, W Robert Florio of Old Town Lodge #908 was joined by Suffolk Masonic District officers and Grand Lodge dignitaries to present RW Peter Stokke with the official portrait for his term as Grand Lodge Staff Officer. Congratulations to RW Stokke!  (Pic., l. to r.: RW Al Cortizo, Junior Grand Warden; RW Jeffrey Santorello, District Deputy; RW Peter Stokke; RW Steven Rubin, Deputy Grand Master; W Robert Florio, Master of Old Town Lodge; and RW Robert Licata, Grand Sword Bearer.)

Nassau & Suffolk Masons Lay Holiday Wreaths

On Saturday, December 16th, Brothers of the Nassau and Suffolk Masonic Districts gathered together at Long Island National Cemetery and Calverton National Cemetery to volunteer with Wreaths Across America. This marks the third consecutive year that the Brothers have volunteered for this fantastic event. During the year, Wreaths Across America sells holiday wreaths through its website and via sponsoring organizations for placement on the Veterans graves at our national cemeteries throughout the country.

Suffolk District Youth Groups Acknowledged



During the Annual Visitation of the District Deputy to Jephtha Lodge #494, Suffolk’s local youth groups were in attendance, completing excellent presentations for the visiting Brethren and Ladies. Recognizing the importance of our Masonic Youth and the tremendous impact they have on local charitable efforts & their adherence to Masonic values, RW District Deputy Jeffrey Santorello congratulated those in attendance, while also thanking the Brothers and Ladies who volunteer to mentor them.

How Masons Effected the Creation of the Modern Day Republic of the Philippines


How Masons effected the creation of the modern day Republic of the Philippines

The first evidence of early Masonic activity in the Philippines was during the brief British occupation of Manila from 1762-1764.  It was noted in a letter now in the Archives of the Indies in Seville, Spain, where the Archbishop of Manila requested the demolition of the Manila Cathedral because it was “desecrated” by the British who were holding military, Masonic meetings in the Cathedral.  The request was not granted, and the historic cathedral still stands today as the premier cathedral of the Philippines.

The first lodge in the Philippines was organized in 1856 by a Spanish naval officer, Jose Malcampo y Monge who later became the Spanish Governor General to the Philippines. The lodge was named Primera Luz Filipina (First Philippine Light) chartered under the Grande Oriente Lusitano of Portugal. From then on, additional lodges were organized – first by the Germans, then followed by the British, then by another Spanish lodge.  No Filipinos were admitted into these lodges.

The first Philippine lodge was organized in Barcelona, Spain, in 1889 by Graciano López Jaena together with some Filipino students and reformists who formed the Logia Revolución under the Gran Oriente Español. In 1890, López Jaena and other Filipino Mason Reformists organized the 2nd lodge named the Logia Solidaridad in Madrid. In January 1891, Filipino Masons in Barcelona and Madrid sought the permission of the Gran Oriente Español to establish lodges in the Philippines.  This was granted on January 6, 1892. The first Filipino Lodge in the Philippines (Logia Nilad) was constituted. A year later, more than 100 new members were accepted to the new lodge with more lodges being organized throughout the country. With the increasing growth of members and lodges within the country, a Regional Grand Council was organized on December 16, 1893.

The country’s popularity and growth of Masonry attracted the alarm and ire of the Spanish Friars who, with their strong influence in the colonial government, initiated a brutal campaign of arrest, exile, imprisonment, torture, and even execution of Masons. The Spanish Government, at the urging of the Friars, banned Masonry and all Masonic activities on December 30, 1896. Coincidentally, Dr. Jose Rizal (the Philippine National Hero), a Master Mason and Past Master of the first Filipino Lodge (Logia Nilad) was executed, and was followed a few days later by the execution of the “13 Martyrs” who were mostly Masons. By then the Philippine Reform Movement has had turned into a full-blown, armed Revolution. The roll of the Revolutionary Movement leaders was filled with Masons like General Emilio Aguinaldo, the first President of the First (Revolutionary) Philippine Republic, Andres Bonifacio, the Father of the Philippine Revolution, and Apolinario Mabini, the brains of the Revolution, to name a few.

The Filipino rebels gained victories throughout the country which eventually led to the Spanish to be being isolated, besieged and surrounded in the Walled City/Fort of Intramuros in Manila. Just when victory was ripe for the taking by the Filipino Revolutionaries, the United States entered the political scene with the arrival of Admiral George Dewey’s Asiatic Squadron in Manila Bay on May 1898.  Through the treaty of Paris in 1898 between Spain and the United States with the Philippines not invited to participate, the Philippines were ceded (sold) by Spain  to the United States for $20 million. This agreement did not bode well with the Filipinos who were left out of the  negotiations. The Philippine Revolutionaries this time resumed hostilities against the American occupiers, called the Philippine American Revolution, which lasted for three years from 1899-1902.

With the American occupation of the Philippines, which lasted until Philippine independence in 1946, came the arrival of American Masons and American Lodges.  One was a lodge organized by Military volunteers from North Dakota. Another was a Prince Hall Lodge organized by African American servicemen from Missouri. There was also a lodge organized under the Grand Lodge of California.  With the growth of American lodges, there was also a resurgence of Filipino lodges under the former Regional Council.

On November 17, 1912, three lodges of the Grand Lodge of California held a meeting to prepare for the eventual organization of the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. On December 12, 1912, a convention was held with delegates from these three lodges where the completed constitution for the new Grand Lodge was presented and approved with Brother Eugene Stafford elected as the first Grand Master. None of the Filipino lodges or Masons were invited to this convention. The reason for this non-invitation was that the petitioning Lodges were anticipating that the presence of “Irregular Lodges” (lodges of foreign jurisdiction) in their ranks that would lead the Grand Lodge of California to disapprove the petition. Being sensitive to the needs of the Filipino Masons and in the true spirit of “Brotherly Love,” Brothers from both sides, notably led by the First Grand Master Eugene Stafford on the American side and Manuel L. Quezon, (the future first President of the Commonwealth Republic of the Philippines) on the Filipino side, worked tirelessly on the delicate matter of the fusion of the two groups. On February 14, 1917, twenty-seven Filipino Lodges of the former Regional Council were constituted into the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. After all the business of the fusion were attended to and completed, the group proceeded to elect officers for the coming Masonic year. The American members of the Grand Lodge realized they had effectively handed over to their Filipino brothers control of the Lodge with the Filipinos now having a majority of members and lodges. To the surprise of the Americans, WB Manuel Quezon, a Filipino, was elected as Deputy Grand Master. When asked about the election turn-out, Manuel Quezon reported saying that since the Americans were magnanimous in handing over the control of the Grand Lodge to the Filipinos, the Filipinos would share the privilege and honor of the Grand Masters Chair alternately on a yearly rotation with their American counterparts. That honorable agreement lasted from 1917-1974 when the last American Grand Master MW John Wallace was elected.

Masonry and Masons had very a strong influence in the direction and outcome of the Reform and Revolutionary periods of Philippine history, both of which were organized, led, and fought by Masons. The Philippine flag, which was designed by Brother General Emilio Aguinaldo, has strong Masonic influence, it being patterned after the Masonic apron with the “three stars” representing the ”Three Great Lights”.

Today, the Grand Lodge of the Philippines stands strong on its historical foundation with more than 21,000 members from all walks of life in over 460 lodges. Filipino Masonic lodges are also active and growing in US Grand Lodge jurisdictions such as the Grand Lodge of New York, New Jersey and California, to name a few.

I wish to thank my brother-in-law, Past Worshipful Dr Victor Pajares of the Philippines, for his help in the preparation of this article.

Respectfully submitted,

William Friedman

Jephtha Lodge No. 494

Dr. José Protasio Rizal, Masonic Hero



June 19, 1861, Calamra, Laguna, Captaincy General of the Philippines, Spanish Empire –

December 30, 1896, Bagumbayan, Manila, Captaincy General of the Philippines, Spanish Empire

Executed by a Spanish firing squad


National Hero (the “George Washington of the Philippines”),

Masonic Hero, Patriot, Martyr, Ophthalmologist, Writer and Polymath


José Rizal was the son of Francisco Rizal Mercado y Alejandro and Teodora Alonso Realonda y Quintos, comfortable, middle-class, educated parents, and the seventh of their eleven children. Like many Filipinos he was of mestizo origin (Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Tagalog ancestry). When he entered the university, he shortened his name to José Protasio Rizal.

At a very young age Rizal proved himself to be very bright, reading and writing at age 5. He graduated from the University Ateno of Manila with distinction, then continued to obtain a surveyor and assessor’s degree and finished a degree of Philosophy in Pre-Law. Learning his mother was going blind, he enrolled in the Medial School of Santo Thomas, specializing in ophthalmology, graduating with distinction in medical and surgical pathology and obstretics. He continued his studies in Madrid earning a Licentiate in Medicine, studied ophthalmology at the University of Paris (1885) and earned a second doctorate at the University of Heidelberg. He was 25 when he finished his eye specialization in Heidelberg where he used the newly invented ophthalmoscope (1886). Concurrently, he finished his first novel, Noli Me Tángere (“Touch Me Not,” [ John 20:17], 1887).

In 1891 he published his second novel, El Filibusterismo (“The Subversives,” 1891). Both of his novels influenced two groups of Filipinos during the Spanish colonial period – peaceful reformists and armed revolutionaries. The novels criticized and condemned Spanish friars and the power of the Church, characters that were drawn from everyday life in the Philippines. These novels, published in Spain, soon made their way to Manila since Rizal sent copies to the Governor-General of the Philippines and the Archbishop. The authorities there quickly labeled him a subversive. The Governor-General, Emilio Terrero y Perinat, a 33o Mason protected Rizal, but the Archbishop became his unrelenting enemy. Rizal felt he could be more persuasive in the Philippines, and against the advice of friends, he returned to Manila on August 5, 1887. Almost immediately, the Archbishop put pressure on the Governor-General to ban Rizal’s books which circulated wildly in the capital. The church authorities quickly published a condemnation of his works, and in doing so, sales of his books skyrocketed. The Archbishop put more pressure on Governor-General Terrero to arrest Rizal, and fearing Terrero could not longer protect him, Terrero advised Rizal to leave the Philippines. He placed himself in self-exile in Hong Kong where he had a lucrative and extensive practice as an ophthalmologist. One of his patients was Leonor Rivera, a distant cousin, with whom he had an eight year, chaste relationship via correspondence. It is thought she was his inspiration for the character of Maria Clara in Noli Me Tángere and El Filibusterismo. (She was 14 and he 16 when they first met, and the attraction was almost instantaneous.)

While in Hong Kong, a lodge for Filipinos was established in Manila, Nilad No. 44. The lodge made Rizal Honorable Venerable Master in absentia, and soon many Filipinos quickly became Masons. When Rizal returned to the Philippines a second time in 1892, Filipino Masonry was well established. The Masons honored Rizal upon his return which only angered the friars. He was arrested, deported to Dapitan (July 6, 1892), lodges were closed and many active Masons were deported. During this time, the religious authorities made reprisals against the Rizal family, including the arrest of his mother.

When Rizal returned to the Philippines in 1887, his father told him not to see Rivera since it would endanger her family. Nevertheless, he asked his father permission to marry her, and he said no; Rizal and Rivera never met again. He left for his second trip to Europe and he continued to write to her, but she never responded. Rivera eventually married Henry Kippling, an English railway engineer, whom her mother preferred. Rizal was devastated.

Rizal’s German friend, Dr. Adolf Bernhard Meyer, described Rizal’s abilities as “stupendous.” Rizal was a true polymath, excelling in painting, sketching, sculpture, poetry, essays, novels, conversant in 22 languages and dabbled with some expertise in architecture, cartography, economics ethnology, anthropology, sociology, martial arts, fencing and pistol shooting.

Rizal is one of the few Filipinos of the 19th century who is well documented because of his prolific writings. Many Rizal scholars often face challenges since he would often switch from one language to another. His diaries also give light to his thoughts and travels in Europe, Japan, the United States, and his self-imposed exile in Hong Kong.

While in Europe during his second stay, Rizal was arrested by the German police because they suspected him of being a French spy after publishing Dimanche des Rameaux (Palm Sunday), which discussed Palm Sunday in socio-political terms. (“… all those flowers, those olive branches, were not for Jesus alone; they were the songs of victory of the new law, they were the canticles celebrating the dignification of man, the liberty of man, the first mortal blow directed against despotism and slavery.”) Rizal’s good friend, Ferdinand Blumentritt, an Austro-Hungarian professor, warned Rizal that his writings, especially his two novels, would cause him to be prosecuted as an inciter of revolution. And as predicted, Rizal was tried by the Spanish military of the Philippines for rebellion, sedition and conspiracy, was convicted on all three charges, and executed because they believed his writings contributed to the Philippine Revolution of 1896, writings that centered on individual rights and freedom. Rizal noted the Philippines were battling “a double-faced Goliath” – corrupt friars and bad government. Rizal’s last words were those of Jesus Christ, consummatum est, “it is finished.” He was 35 years old when he was executed. (Rizal married his common-law wife, Marie Josephine Leopoldine Bracken, just before his execution. Her father was an Irish corporal in the British Army, stationed in Hong Kong, where she was born, and she and Rizal met.)

Rizal is thought to be the first Filipino revolutionary whose death was caused entirely by his writings. Through dissent and civil disobedience, he was successfully able to destroy Spain’s ethical entitlement to govern.

Rizal was secretly buried in the Pacò Cemetery of Manila in an unmarked grave. His sister, Narcisa, visited gravesites looking for fresh earth and found one with guards at the gate. She gave the caretaker a gift to mark the grave with RPJ, Rizal’s initials in reverse. During American rule in 1898 his body was exhumed and is now buried in the Rizal Monument in Manila. In his last letter to his family, Rizal wrote, “Treat your aged parents as you would wish to be treated… Love them greatly in memory of me… December 30, 1896.”

On his way to Madrid in 1882, Rizal’s ship docked in Naples where he saw many posters put up by Masons announcing the death of General Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882, Italy’s hero of Italian unification and the creation of the Kingdom of Italy. He was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in Palermo, Italy, 1869, and he was a 33o Scottish Rite Mason.) According to the Filipino historian, Reynold Fajardo, “Rizal must have been impressed because he later wrote about what he saw in a letter to his parents and brothers. The letter marked the first time Rizal made a written mention of Masonry, but it would not be his last.” It is also possible his uncle, José Alonzo, a Mason, may have been a Masonic influence since Rizal lived with his uncle for part of his studies while living in Madrid. Alonzo was a Knight of the Order of Carlos III, and later King Amadeo, also a Mason, made him a Knight Commander of the Order of Isabel the Catholic. José Rizal became a Master Mason in 1884 at Acacia Lodge No. 9 in Madrid under the Gran Oriente de España while he was studying medicine. Historians believe he was 23 when he was raised. Fajardo continues to note, “In accordance with Masonic Practices then observed in Spain, Rizal selected a symbolic name by which he was to be known, “Dimasalang.” In 1889 he became a member of the all-Filipino Solidaridad Lodge No. 53 in Madrid. Before leaving Spain, the Gran Oriente de España made Rizal its Grand Representative with the authority to be its representative in France and Germany. (He never served, however, as a Worshipful Master in any lodge.) In 1891 he applied for admission to the Temple de L’Honneur et de L’Union in Paris, France. He truly deserves to be called an international Mason because he was a member of Masonic Lodges in Spain, Germany, France, and possibly England.

Several Masonic lodges are named after José Rizal: José Rizal Lodge No. 22 in Manila, Philippines; Dr. José Rizal (Calamba) Lodge, No. 270, Laguna, Philippines; Isagani Masonic Lodge No. 96, Luzon, Philippines, named after a character in Rizal’s novel, El Filibusterismo; José Rizal Lodge No. 1172, New York City, composed of natural-born Filipinos; and Gat José Rizal Lodge, Murietta, Southern California.

A special thank-you to Rose Friedman, wife of Jephtha Br. Bill Friedman, for recommending José Rizal as a Mason worthy of further study.

Fraternally yours,

Br. Richard Gentile

Jephtha Lodge No. 494

An Evening with Psychic Medium Jeffrey Wands

On Saturday, November 5th, Riverhead Lodge #645 Free & Accepted Masons will host “An Evening with Psychic Medium Jeffrey Wands” in the Lodge collation room.  General Admission tickets are only $40.00 per person and open to All.  Each attendee will receive a complimentary glass of wine or beer with admission.

Doors open at 6:00 pm with Mr. Wands taking center stage at approximately 7:00 pm.

This is a great event and Mr. Wands is always quite engaging with the audience.

Tickets may be purchased online here at

Tickets can also be purchased via mail by contacting Terry Maccarrone at (631)-334-3698.

The venue is handicapped accessible.

Riverhead Lodge is located at 1246 Roanoke Avenue in Riverhead, immediately south of the Rte. 58 traffic circle. The entrance is at the rear of the building.

Call with questions.

Welcome to the 2022-2023 Masonic season

Well September is here and it’s time to ramp up Masonic activities. WMs are busy setting up last minute trestle board items, events being schedule and Lodges will be meeting for stated communications.

There were a lot of changes over the last year or so, so please have a look at the events page here -> Events

We have also added a listing up upcoming events on the homepage that are ticketed events so if you want to attend any, click the link and get your tickets.

Want to sell online tickets for your event? Login to and go to your events and create the event, add a PayPal email address and add tickets for sale, voila you are selling tickets online.

Also don’t forget to login to the Suffolk District BAND and all the dates and info is also there and matches the Suffolk District website calendar. If you add and event to the Suffolk District BAND, it will be transferred to the website events calendar automatically.

Not a member of the BAND? Well, you can join by going here and requesting to join by creating and account -> Suffolk Masonic District BAND

There will also be a new page appearing soon on the site for the District Staff Officers and education events. There will be a registration page with details here soon and you can sign up for those courses right here too.

We hope all had a great summer and looking forward to getting back into the quarries!