Grand Master’s Quarterly Address – June 2018

By Christopher Rooney |

Good afternoon! It’s been a busy quarter.

Early in the year, we traveled to visit our “snowbird” brethren in Florida. During these visits we renewed many friendships, brought everyone up to date on our activities and were pleased to confer many Veteran’s (and even Veteran Past Master!) medals.  All without even an inch of snow!

In May, I had the honor of participating in a service by the graveside  of Paul Revere on the 200th  anniversary of his death.  Joined by three generations of the Revere family, I helped place a wreath on his monument and took advantage of the opportunity to speak about the patriotic and Masonic accomplishments of our 11th Grand Master.

Many of you have benefitted from our intense training schedule. Two sessions of Master’s Path (with secretarial breakouts) were held in opposite ends of the state. These were supplemented by a series of Treasurer training opportunities. To date R.W. Don LaLiberte has been able to reach nearly half of our treasurers. I am anxious that all brethren serving as a lodge treasurer or assistant treasurer take advantage of this training. Federal, state, and even Grand Lodge regulations and standards are still changing and it can be financially disastrous to a lodge when some of these are ignored or incorrectly followed. I hope to see every Lodge receive this training without having to make it mandatory.

Has your Lodge held a blood drive recently? The commitment that Freemasons have to holding these events does not go unnoticed. On May 9th, I had the pleasure of meeting with several representatives of the American Red Cross where the Vice President of Biomedical Services at the American Red Cross presented us “The Premier Partner of the Decade Award” for 2017. In the past decade, we have held and organized blood drives that are responsible for the collection of 65,604 pints of blood impacting 196,812 lives from 2007-2017. It is unfortunately true that overall donors have deceased from 10% to 3% of the population. Please help raise this number by participating in the Masonic charity of blood donation. Thank you.

I am pleased to report that as of mid-April, over $75,000 had been donated to our charities from our share of plate renewal fees.  We are still obligated to issue at least another 500 plates before we will be able to retire the bond that we had to furnish to guaranty the Registry a minimum “press run”. Encourage new candidates to get a Masonic license plate! We will be refunding the $40 special-purchase fee for the foreseeable future.

Soon you will see new faces when you visit the Grand Secretary’s office. We have hired Wor. Charles Caroselli to take on the role of staff accountant. We welcome him into this new role and anticipate giving some relief to the rest of the accounting staff.

After over six years of dedicated and valuable service to our Grand Lodge, R.W.  Robert V. Jolly is retiring from active service as our Business Manager. I am pleased to announce that R.W. Donald M. Moran is rapidly learning the many intricate and critical phases of this job under Bob’s tutelage. Don will assume full time duties at the end of this month. I would ask all of you to stand and join with me in congratulating R.W. Jolly on a job well done and wish him well in his future activities.

The quarter ended with some fire and flood when police reported smoke coming from an electrical manhole next to our Boylston Street entrance. After connecting a 550kW generator from the street to our switch gear, Eversource responded with a week-long effort to remove and replace the cables in both the street and feeding our building. In the course of excavating our building’s cable, the backhoe struck our 6” sprinkler pipe and ripped a 2” access port off the pipe. The resulting geyser reached our second floor, poured into our (new) kitchen and unto the electrical switchgear in the basement.  At the end of a very long week’s effort by Eversource, the Boston Water Department and especially our Business Manager , R.W. Bro. Jolly, all has been reconnected and we are back as before. I especially commend Brother Jolly for both his on-site experience in supervising the repair but also for considering the needs of our restaurant tenant when it (often) became necessary to turn off the generator power for equipment adjustment. It was a long week!

Even as we break for refreshment this summer, many important programs are being planned for your benefit:

The Masonic Child Identification Program (CHIP) is still active: providing families with pictures, fingerprints, bite plates and DNA samples to aid in recovering their children if and when necessary. This program exposes the public to our Square and Compasses while providing them with a valuable resource. At present we have 40 systems intended for use during fairs, town days, and other events featuring large numbers of families. Unfortunately, 20 of these 40 systems are currently under repair or no longer functional. We have initiated planning to replace these systems with state–of-the-art hardware and software in order to continue the provision of this valuable service to the public. Stay tuned!

Our membership committee has many plans for the next Masonic year.  First up is a Ritual Competition which will look for the best ritual presenters across the jurisdiction.  On July 28 and August 18 in three venues (Feeding Hills, Wakefield, and Weymouth) there will be auditions for delivery of the Middle Chamber lecture. Judges will be looking for accuracy, delivery, presentation, and clarity. Brethren who excel in this competition will be front runners for participation in our One Day Class.

Saturday, October 20th, will be the next statewide Open House event. Please mark this date on your calendars and prepare for your Lodge building to welcome members of the general public who wish to learn more about the Craft.

On October 27, my wife and I will host a “Bow Tie Benefit Gala” at Grand Lodge. Fine food and an auction will highlight the evening with all proceeds to benefit the Brotherhood Fund.

Then, to recognize the efforts each lodge has put into increasing membership, the committee will present Golden Gavel Awards at the Scottish Rite Museum in Lexington on January 26 of 2019. This will be a formal evening recognizing Lodges and Master Masons for their successes. Redouble your efforts now so that when the Master of Ceremonies says, “And the winner is…” you’ll hear your name or lodge and ascend the stage on the red carpet.

Capping off all of this activity will be our One Day Class on March 9th, 2019. This effort will require many experienced ritualists and mentors so if you would like to participate let your District Deputy or the event chairman, R.W. Bro. Alfredo Canhoto, know of your interest.

So, that’s what we have in the works for you. It’s important and significant but true success can come only with the work of individual lodge membership committees. The last time I checked, fifty seven – yes, five seven – lodges did not raise a candidate this year. That’s more than 25% of our lodges! I’m sure there are a few extenuating circumstances that explain some of these but the fact remains that only “boots on the ground” are going to invite interested candidates to dinner, contact every brother at least once per year , publish articles in local media and in many other ways make the public aware of what we have to offer.  It is our duty as Masonic lodges to investigate, elect, and raise Master Masons. It should be our goal to see 100% of our Lodges do this in the near future.

I hope that all of you have a great summer and I look forward to meeting and working with you again in September.