Online Quarterly – Grand Lodge June 2020
The June Online Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts opened at 1:43pm on Wednesday, June 10th, 2020.
There was no procession into Ionic Hall. No standing ovation. None of the usual fanfare Masons have come to associate with the occasion whatsoever. Why?
For the first time, the Grand Lodge opened for business in an online format.
In the most unusual of scenarios (at least in the modern era), the June 2020 Grand Lodge Quarterly Communication was our first business meeting of the Masonic year.
The March Quarterly was abruptly canceled due to spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 287 years of operation in Massachusetts, our fraternity has faced plenty of existential crises. We have refused, however, to allow the pandemic to become another one.
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our Grand Lodge Information Services Committee, we were able to prepare for a fully tiled, private online communication.
The Grand Master, M.W. Richard Maggio, opened Grand Lodge 5 months and 14 days after his installation – for the first time.
He presided in the East – this time, the oriental chair was the one at his computer desk – while the rest of the Grand Lodge officers with speaking parts congregated in the Grand Lodge board room.
After asking all in attendance to join with him in the pledge of allegiance, Maggio explained that he would be using a special gavel, presented to him by Bro. Chad Robinson of the Grand Lodge of Delaware, to open the meeting.
The opening ceremony concluded with the Grand Master declaring Lodge open in ample form at 1:50pm.
From this point forward, things started to feel more like the Quarterly. The Grand Master introduced the distinguished guests who were in attendance, including several brethren from our District Grand Lodge of Panama. After introducing our past Grand Masters, he moved on to committee reports.
Bro. Maggio called on M.W. Albert T. Ames, Grand Secretary, for two separate reports: the report on the Voting Powers of Lodges, and the Report on the Recognition of Proxies.
Next, he called on M.W. Donald G. Hicks, Jr. for a report from the Foreign Relations Committee. M.W. Bro. Hicks announced that we received three requests for recognition from foreign Grand Lodges:
- Grande Oriente de Bahia-GOBA
- Grande Oriente Paulista
- Grande Oriente do Rio de Janeiro
These requests were approved by a vote of the Grand Lodge, so these three Brazilian Grand Lodges are now officially recognized.
Next, the Grand Master called on the chairman of the Committee on Charters and By-Laws, R.W. Robert V. Jolly, Jr. Bro. Jolly then delivered the first official Grand Lodge report from outside of Massachusetts, as he was participating from his home in Florida.
The time then came to recognize the brethren who have passed away since we last met for Grand Lodge business. The Deputy Grand Master, R.W. Peter Culbertson, read the names of 12 Master Masons who passed since the December 2019 Quarterly.
Following the necrology, the Grand Master then asked everyone to observe a moment of silence for all of those who have succumbed to the COVID-19 virus. After the moment of silence, one of our Grand Chaplains, the R.W. Rev. Dr. Keith C. Alderman offered a prayer for the departed.
There are, believe it or not, things still worth celebrating even in the strangest of times. We were happy to recognize several of our Lodges that are celebrating anniversaries this year.
150th Anniversary, chartered by M.W. William S. Gardner in 1870:
- Rabboni Lodge (Westwood)
- Globe Unity Lodge (Dalton)
- Mount Holyoke Lodge (South Hadley)
- Upton Lodge (Upton)
225th Anniversary, chartered by M.W. Paul Revere in 1795:
- Republican Lodge (Greenfield)
- Middlesex Lodge (Framingham)
- Evening Star Lodge (Lee)
250th Anniversary, chartered by M.W. Joseph Warren in 1770:
- The Tyrian-Ashler-Acacia Lodge (Gloucester)
- The Massachusetts Lodge (Boston)
The anniversary certificates will be presented to each Lodge by the local District Deputy Grand Master when it is safe to do so.
Then, the Grand Master announced each of the Lodges who earned the Grand Master’s Award for the 2019 Masonic year. The award is given annually to Lodges who exceed Grand Lodge’s requirements for having a dynamic and engaging program. The recipients were:
- The Massachusetts Lodge
- The Harvard Lodge
- Converse Lodge
- Wyoming Lodge
- Norumbega-Fraternity Lodge
- West Roxbury-Dorchester Lodge
- Prospect Lodge
- Weymouth United Masonic Lodge
- Milton Lodge
- Golden Rule Lodge
- William Parkman Lodge
- Caleb Butler Lodge
- Corinthian Lodge
- Tahattawan Lodge
- Daniel Webster Lodge
- Marine Lodge
- Brigham Lodge
Due to the nature of the online meeting, it was impossible for the Grand Master to make some of the presentations that were on his schedule for the past two meetings.
He expressed his regret in not being able to recognize these brethren the way he wanted, but that he wanted to announce these honors:
R.W. Paul W. Rolston, who served as Senior Grand Warden in 1992, and Grand Secretary from 1996 until 2001, earned his 50 year Past Master’s Certificate. Bro. Rolston will be recognized by Grand Lodge when it is safe to do so.
A special thanks was then given to R.W. Ron E. Jackson, our 1985 Deputy Grand Master, for his long standing commitment to working with The Overlook in Charlton. It is due to the work of Masons like Bro. Jackson that The Overlook has been able to build a successful operation – one that remains COVID-19 free to date.
Back in December, John Keegan (Wampatuck Lodge) responded to the site of a plane crash, and rescued a pilot who did not know how to swim. The Grand Master would have liked to invite Bro. Keegan as his personal guest to the Quarterly, and recognize him for his service in person.
Bro. Maggio got choked up talking about a special presentation he really looked forward to. Wor. William “Simmie” Wong (Dalhousie Lodge) celebrated his 100th birthday on May 9th. Bro. Wong served in the Army in World War II, where he served as a supply officer for the 14th Air Force’s famed Flying Tigers.
He was selected to receive the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor for his service with the unit, but passed away on May 12th.
The Grand Master announced he would be posthumously issuing the Henry Price Medal – the highest honor available from the Grand Master – to Bro. Wong.
The Grand Master then delivered his remarks, covering all that he has learned and faced since taking office almost 6 full months ago.
Following his remarks, he moved to close the Grand Lodge. He announced he would be using a gavel that was presented to him by Wor. Joseph Sadlow (North Reading Lodge). Bro. Sadlow passed away on May 4th, and Bro. Maggio wished to recognize him in this way.
The Grand Master declared the first official online Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge closed at 3:17pm.