December 2020 Quarterly Communication
There has absolutely been nothing normal about the year 2020. When the Grand Master asked for a plan to livestream the Grand Lodge Quarterly from the East of Ionic Hall under COVID-19 restrictions, the Information Services and Technology Committee didn’t even flinch.
Wor. Patrick DelVal (Milton Lodge) manned the OBS controls from the Ionic Hall balcony, and away we went.
The Grand Marshal instructed all those in attendance to make sure they were engaging with the business of Grand Lodge in a way that ensured the meeting was tyled appropriately.
Opening Grand Lodge
M.W. Richard Maggio, Grand Master, opened Grand Lodge at 1:30pm.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the formal opening of Grand Lodge took place.
The Grand Master welcomed everyone to the event, introducing the new hybrid opening format that Grand Lodge hopes to use for the Installation of Officers later this month.
While not ideal, the Grand Master mused, we must do our part to comply with the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ guidelines for minimizing the spread of COVID-19. The Grand Master introduced the distinguished guests present (both in person and online) before calling on the Grand Secretary for the first order of business.
M.W. Albert T. Ames (Grand Secretary) read the report on the Voting Power of Lodges into the record. He also made a motion for the Recognition of Proxies, which was seconded by the Deputy Grand Master, R.W. Peter M. Culbertson. Voting on this motion took place online, and went seamlessly – it passed unanimously.
The report of the Committee on Charters and By-Laws was then read by R.W. Donald M. Moran, the Business Manager of Grand Lodge. He delivered the report on behalf of R.W Robert V. Jolly, Jr., the chairman of the committee.
After the committee’s report was approved, the Deputy Grand Master had the humble duty of reading the Necrology into the record. The contributions of those who have laid down the working tools for the final time are never forgotten.
R.W. Henry Peirce, Grand Chaplain, gave a prayer for the departed brethren. When he was finished, the Grand Master resumed the business of the day.
Election of 2021 Officers
The December Quarterly Communication is often filled with much excitement. The new Junior and Senior Grand Wardens are typically elected – there’s a critical mass of voting members of Grand Lodge in attendance in a “normal” year.
The annual occasion brings a special moment – where each of the candidates running for office get to experience being brought before their friends, brothers, and peers for a moment of appreciation before the vote is taken.
The ballot represents the end of months of visitations, which are inextricably linked to the formation of lifelong friendships with men whom they might not otherwise have met. Many candidates for Grand Lodge office even grow close with their opponents, as they often travel together to Lodges throughout the jurisdiction. That is the beauty of Masonry – good men seeing each other as friends and brothers, not adversaries.
Unfortunately, this year none of this came to pass. The Grand Master announced, as was adopted back in September:
Due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the negative impact it has had on the fraternal meetings and functions of the Grand Lodge, the current elected officers have had little (if any) opportunity to enjoy and fulfill the duties of the offices to which they have been elected. Therefore, the following slate of officers are to be presented at the December 9, 2020 Quarterly Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts:
- M.W. Richard Maggio, Grand Master
- R.W. George F. Hamilton, Senior Grand Warden
- R.W. Christopher M. St. Cyr, Junior Grand Warden
- R.W. Mason W. Russell, Grand Treasurer
- M.W. Albert T. Ames, Grand Secretary
These would be the only candidates for each office nominated in 2020.
While the long-held traditions of balloting on the offices of Grand Master, Senior Grand Warden, and Junior Grand Warden were observed in person (thanks to the hybrid format), there was no seminal moment. No profound display of brotherhood from a losing candidate conceding to the victor, nothing.
Instead, those in attendance got to observe a tangible example of a frequently used Masonic aphorism – Freemasonry, notwithstanding, has still survived.
The 2020 slate of elected officers was re-elected for 2021 unanimously.
Three new members of the Grand Lodge Board of Directors were elected. Their terms will last for 3 years:
- R.W. Peter M. Culbertson
- R.W. Geoffrey Kromer
- R.W. Paul R. Perkins
One brother was also elected to serve as a trustee of the Masonic Education & Charity Trust, for a term that lasts eight years – Bro. Peter Hamilton Nee.
Awards & Closing Remarks
There were a few honors and awards to “present” – the Grand Master read two Lodge Anniversary certificates and presented a couple of Grand Master Awards to Lodges who earned them. They will be formally presented by the Grand Master or one of his District Deputies to the recipients when they meet again in person.
This concluded the business of Grand Lodge for the December 2020 Quarterly Communication.
Before closing Lodge, the Grand Master delivered several remarks. He lamented that COVID-19 finally breached the campus of The Overlook in Charlton in November, but praised the staff for their actions to contain the spread as best as possible at the facility.
“What is our role as Masons during this pandemic?” said the Grand Master. “It is time to be kind, understanding, and have respect for others. Time to be the guiding light for society and face the challenges ahead of us. As the search for a vaccine and treatment continues, we must work toward the common good. We will pass through this storm together.”
M.W. Bro. Maggio thanked all brothers and organizations who contributed to the Grand Master’s Appeal, and noted he is always amazed by the generosity of those throughout the Craft. He also recognized those who donated of their time and talent, citing several examples of selfless acts of Masons in the past several months.
Grand Lodge will have a new Trustees Training Educational Program for all trustees of Lodge funds and property. The training is being developed and implemented by a committee of professionals who are best equipped to train trustees, while also keeping them informed of the current means, methods and laws governing them.
The Grand Master also announced the Deacons Academy, a new officer training program for those moving through the officer line. More information will be available in the coming months.
The work of the Craft does, in fact, continue during these times – the Grand Master then recapped all of the things he and his officers have done since the September Quarterly to close out his remarks.
The Grand Master then closed Grand Lodge in ample form at approximately 3:15pm.