The first few months of serving as Grand Master of Masons
in Pennsylvania have truly been an experience of a lifetime. The
Grand Lodge Officers and our ladies have been made welcome
everywhere we have traveled. Even with how well I thought of our
Craft already, the depth of my own personal appreciation for the
work that Pennsylvania Freemasons do, and the dedication of our
membership for a better fraternity tomorrow, only continues to grow.
Checks are coming in every day for the Change for the Troops
program. It is obvious that the membership has really embraced
this initiative, and as a veteran, I am extremely grateful and proud
of your support of our armed forces. Throughout my travels, it is
one of the most immediate topics of discussion, as brethren share
countless heartwarming accounts of this opportunity to thank our
service men and women. The manner in which not only the lodges,
but also other Masonic bodies, have joined this effort is way beyond
what I expected we would achieve.
The batch calling system also has been embraced as lodge
leaders realize the many benefits of this easy and cost-effective
means of communicating with our brethren. If you haven't received
a call yet, contact your Worshipful Master and your Lodge Secretary
and ask them why!
Our lodges also are responding to the statewide minimum
ritualistic standard initiative. We have already significantly closed
the gap due to brethren stepping up and learning, or beginning to
learn, the degree work. A significant number of brethren have
commented favorably on this. As expected, we have made good
progress. Ability is not the question - the skill and ability have
always been there - it is a culture change that must occur for us, as Pennsylvania Masons, to Earn it Again.
On p. 9, you will see the schedule for the upcoming visits of the Unity Box and Gavel. I encourage you to attend your
lodge, or as a visitor at another lodge, when it comes to your area. During my travels across the state, I have already caught up
with it three times! Every brother has the chance to experience the same sense of unity, camaraderie and pride when he has the
opportunity to hold and pass it along.
Congratulations to those brethren whose names are listed on pp. 6-8 on their 60, 70, 75, and 80 years of service to Pennsylvania
Freemasonry! In the August issue, we will recognize those brethren who have earned their 50-Year Service Awards.
A few weeks ago, I had the once-in-a-lifetime privilege of standing on top of our majestic Masonic Temple in Philadelphia. It was
the most amazing feeling you could imagine - being able to see up-close and physically touch the areas of the building that have become
damaged over the past 133 years by wear and tear, weather and pollution. Without a doubt, it strengthened my conviction that this
masterpiece requires our immediate attention to preserve its remarkable craftsmanship and the Masonic heritage it represents.
The feature article in this issue was inspired by a special report aired on Channel 6 News, Philadelphia, in February. Likely spurred
by the release of the movie "National Treasure II," the series on Freemasonry being shown on the History and Discovery channels
and Dan Brown's upcoming book, "The Solomon Key," the questions posed caused me to reflect on how Hollywood and the media in
general interpret (or at times, misinterpret) our great fraternity. If we are going to Protect Our Heritage for Future Generations, it is up
to each and every one of us to educate our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers about what it truly means to be a Freemason.
Sincerely and fraternally,
R.W. Grand Master