Friday, December 28, 2012

Heading towards the East Again....

The past eight years as a Freemason has been a rollarcoaster.  I served my lodge as Worshipful Master for two years and my Grand Lodge as District Grand Lecturer, Associate Grand Marshal and District Deputy for the following six years (two years for each position).  As April and the next Grand Lodge Annual Communication approaches, I find myself entering a situation where I have no position of authority in the Blue Lodge and it is truly exciting!

Come April, I will be able to rededicate my efforts to being a brother among the craft and to continue chipping away at my personal rough ashlar.  I am grateful for the several years of service that were granted to me and for the myriad of experiences I had while traveling throughout my district.  However, my focus during this time was on the terrestrial rather than the celestial, the mundane rather than the sublime and the practical rather than the spiritual.  The "business" of Masonry had to be my primary focus to fulfill my accepted duties.  Now, I return to the quarries, no longer an overseer of the work and once again labor with my brethren.  This is a time for celebration!  Laborare est Orare!

I titled this blog post "heading towards the east again...".  Many Freemasons may believe that I was alluding to reentering the progressive line to become Worshipful Master again.  This is not the East I refer to.  I'm referring to that spiritual East, for which we all should strive.  It is the East of knowledge and wisdom, the East of the devine.  It is the direction that all Freemasons should be traveling towards and I am blessed to be once again counted among the pilgrams traveling in the oriental direction.  Guided my the mourning sun, we all travel for the light.

I have been truly blessed to be accompanied by so many diverse brothers in my Masonic travels over the past 12 years.  Some of these brothers no longer walk the Earth and I am grateful for having known them.  Some of these brothers are now separated from me by geography and I hope that we will once again be reunited.  As the rolls of the craftmen decline, so too do they rise.  I have met many new brothers and am happy to continue my travels with them.

As the year draws to a close, I am bolstered by the company I keep.  These brothers, young and old, give me wisdom to find the truth, strength to persevere and continue to show me the beauty that is our gentle craft.  I thank them all for their company as I continue heading towards the east again.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A New Brother's Experience with Quinta Essentia Lodge U.D.

Brother Paul Speranza recently wrote about his experience at the latest meeting of Quinta Essentia Lodge U.D. (Connecticut's First European Concept Lodge) on Corinthian No. 103's website. Brother Paul is a relatively new Master Mason who has tremendous energy and is enjoying his Masonic Journey. It was great to read his perspective on our labors!

I had the pleasure on Saturday, February 18th, of attending a stated communication and festive board with the brothers of Quinta Essentia UD (Under Dispensation). This is Connecticut’s first European Concept lodge so check out their website and their beautiful Spring 2012 Trestle Board. Some of the things that make them different are, from their website:
• Meetings and festive boards will take place at a local restaurant with high quality food in a private dining space, instead of a Masonic Building.
• The lodge will meet only six times a year and each meeting will be an outstanding event.
• Every lodge meeting has an accompanying cocktail hour, festive board and open discussion topic during the dinner.
• Our discussion topics are typically philosophical in nature.
• We require excellence in dress. All brothers are required to dress in tuxes or dark suit and dark tie. Lodge paraphernalia will exemplify simplicity in an effort to symbolize the equality of our brotherhood.
This was actually my second communication with QE. The first time was on the day that we had a home make over for Brother Ted Doolittle, who also happens to be the Junior Warden of QE. When we finished working on his home, we all kicked in for a steak and lobster cookout and held a stated communication in Brother Ted’s living room. That was cool, and as I was an Entered Apprentice at the time and never experienced a communication outside of a temple, I had a grin on my face for days.
This time the communication was held at Mory’s on York Street in New Haven. When I walked in the hostess walked me up the stairs to the “Governor’s Room” but stopped in the hallway, handed me a stack of menus and said that she wasn’t sure if she should go any further. I told her it was ok but she turned and left anyway. I guess the mystique surrounding Freemasonry is very much alive and well.
I walked in and our Worshipful Master, Kristian Maiorino, who is the Senior Deacon for QE, was there with Brother Ted Doolittle. I made the rounds introducing myself to some and reacquainting myself with the others. The Worshipful Master of QE, Brad Cooney, shook my hand and immediately tasked me with coming up with a toast for the topic of commitment. I wasn’t sure where that was going but I was game.
The room is small but looks like something from colonial times and the mood was starting to take shape. We held a short communication and closed. Next, the waitress came in and took our drink order. Once the drinks arrived the toasts began. I was the third toast so by the time it got to me the Pino Noir started working its magic. I guess I did ok and so did the other brothers. There were 5 toasts in all, one for each of the 5 Essential principles, which are Enlightenment, Service, Commitment, Excellence and Dignity. What a great way to get the momentum started.
We had a delicious meal and then Brother L. Scott Brand gave a lecture on charity followed by a wonderful discussion. This is a great way to spend 4 hours with a group of brothers, which included a brother from New Jersey that heard about this meeting and decided to drive up. I was made to feel right at home and felt very comfortable participating in the various conversations that took place.
Now I need to buy a tuxedo. Although the dress code states that a dark suit and dark tie is acceptable, I am so enamored with attending the QE get-togethers that I feel it is the least that I can do to show my appreciation for being able to participate in such a wonderful experience with the brethren. I could have stayed longer and gone downstairs to the lounge for further merriment but I had to leave.
Brothers, Quinta Essentia is a class act and I would encourage you to try to attend their communications. In my limited experience as a Freemason I would have to say that both of my experiences with QE have been great and I intend on attending as often as I can. This meeting cost $75 to attend and that included the drinks, meal, desert and gratuity. In my opinion it was worth every penny. The atmosphere at Mory’s fit perfectly and the only thing we did not do was write on the floor with chalk, although I think I did hear someone say not to rule that out when I mentioned it.
Brother Paul Speranza