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Seamus P. McCaffery ­ the Mason, Judge, Military Man, Police Officer, Husband, and Father
by James N. Katsaounis, P.M.

seamus1Pennsylvania Freemasonry is proud to have as one of its members, Hon. Bro. Seamus P. McCaffery. Known to many as the judge who brought justice to Veterans Stadium, former home of the Philadelphia Eagles, he has exemplified his life and career as a true Freemason. Today Bro. McCaffery has a seat on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, a position he was elected to in November 2003, following a career of law enforcement that began some 36 years ago when as a young high school graduate he entered the United States Marine Corps.

The paths taken and the accomplishments achieved by Bro. McCaffrey is the fulfillment of a true American dream. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the second of seven children born to Seamus and Rita McCaffery. After immigrating to America, he completed his high school education from the well-known Cardinal Dougherty High School in Philadelphia. His career path to serving his new country began when he joined the U.S. Marine Corps as a private after graduating high school in 1968. On completion of his active duty service, he continued to serve his country in the Marine Corps Reserve, rising to the rank of Captain. In 1985, Bro. McCaffery transferred into the U.S. Air Force Reserve, where he took over as the Commanding Officer of the 913th Security Police Squadron. He continued to serve in the Air Force Reserve, rising to the rank of Colonel. During his assignment to Air Combat Command Headquarters at Langley Air Force Base, VA, he was mobilized in support of Operation Noble Eagle after our country was attacked on September 11, 2001. Today he continues to defend our country as the Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer for Homeland Defense to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Bro. McCaffery's career in defending our country didn't stop with his unyielding dedication to military service, but continued on the home front locally when in 1970 he joined the Philadelphia Police Department. For the next 20 years, before ultimately retiring as a highly-decorated veteran from Philadelphia Police, he distinguished himself as a patrolman, a plainclothes Vice/Narcotics investigator, a detective in the Homicide and Major Crimes Division and rose to the rank of Supervisor. While working fulltime for Philadelphia Police, Bro. McCaffery pursued his education, earning a Bachelor's degree from LaSalle University, and then his Juris Doctor degree from Temple University School of Law.

Bro. McCaffery became one of the first, if not the only, former Philadelphia Police officers to become an attorney while working fulltime. He became a member of the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. bars and worked as a litigation associate. He went on to become the first retired Philadelphia Police officer ever elected as a trial judge in Philadelphia County.

seamus2While serving as a trial judge, Bro. McCaffery distinguished himself again with his innovation of the Nuisance Night Court and the creation of the National Football League's first and only Court, conducted during each Philadelphia Eagles football home games. His progressive style won him national recognition, appearing on ESPN, Dateline, Inside Edition, MSNBC, Good Morning America and on every major radio talk show and newspaper across the country. A major Philadelphia newspaper labeled him "Philadelphia's Quality of Life Judge." His hard work, innovative programs, and outstanding ability to exercise the law didn't go unnoticed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, when they appointed him in October 2001 as Administrative Judge of the 4th largest court in America, the Philadelphia Municipal Court.

Bro. McCaffery is happily married to Lise Rapaport, Esquire, and has three sons, Sean, Jim and Brian.

What made you first take interest in Freemasonry?
"As a student of both American History and Philadelphia History, I would visit the cemeteries of some of America's greatest leaders and while visiting some of the monuments, I noticed that there was a significant connection between these great Americans and Freemasonry."

How did you come to join Freemasonry?
"After learning that the square and compasses was a symbol of Freemasonry, I saw two fellow Homicide detectives I was working with on the Philadelphia Police Department wearing the square and compasses on their lapels so I asked how I could become a part of it." He was entered into Freemasonry on Apr. 18, 1985 in Gothic Lodge No. 519. He is currently a member of Richard Vaux-Ivanhoe No. 384, Philadelphia ­ a member of the Valley of Philadelphia, AASR, and was coroneted a 33° Mason in 2000 at the Supreme Council Meeting in Pittsburgh.

What do you enjoy most about Freemasonry?
"You can be a bricklayer, a carpenter, a bus driver, a medical doctor, or you can be a political leader, a great military leader, or you can be a Superior Court Judge, but at the end of the day everyone is a brother within the lodge."

Where do you see the future of Pennsylvania Freemasonry?
"I have much respect for the current leadership in the Grand Lodge and its future leaders, for their desire to bring in more youthful members that will bring more energy into the lodges and for their efforts in making lodges more attractive for these new men. Men join Freemasonry to give, not to take. Like President John Kennedy's saying: 'Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.' The same should apply to Freemasonry."

Why should a man join Freemasonry?
"One day we are all going to die and when we are lying on our death bed, what do you want to be known as? What do you want to leave? What's that legacy we have out there? To me a lot of that has to do with what good we [Freemasons] have given back to our community, to our state, to our country. That's why I'm a Mason."

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