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From the East

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

By J. E. C. Rafisura — Master

Spring has sprung, and finally we are in the start of the second quarter of the year! A lot is in store for our lodge as we move forward and continue our lodge events. For the month of April, we are going to have our Public Schools Night where we will be honoring two outstanding teachers from the Castro Valley Unified School District. I would like to congratulate Elementary School Counselor/Social Worker Emma Ruiz of Castro Valley, and English and AVID Teacher Aiden Gutierrez of Creekside Middle School. Special thanks to brother Adam Korbas who has once again stepped forward to coordinate the event and act as host for this worthy project.

As I write this article, I am sitting in one of our country’s federal buildings, waiting for my passport to be issued. That being said, I am again going on a 4—5 weeks trip to the Philippines to visit my relatives and family. This trip gives me mixed feelings of joy, excitement and a bit of sadness as I will be missing some of our lodge and grand lodge events. However, while Freemasonry and its set of philosophies play an important part of our life, it also teaches us to prioritize things, even to the point of putting “Freemasonry” itself in the back burner and focus on what is more important at hand. God, family, work, Freemasonry – all in good order.

My special emphasis on “Freemasonry” vis-a-vis Masonry in this article is intentional. I always believed that when we say Freemasonry or Free and Accepted Masons, I view it as the fraternity itself - the organization with all its structure, by laws and constitution, the hierarchy of its members and officers and its traditional roles, rituals and activities. In all its glory, it is a beautiful structure with time honored rituals, practices and protocols. Freemasonry is your membership to the fraternity (as you continue to pay your annual dues), your attendance to stated meetings and rituals, going into the chairs and occupying certain positions within the structure of the organization.

”Masonry”, on the other hand, is the manifestations of Freemasonry’s teachings and practices. It is the application of masonic teachings such as brotherly love, relief and truth. It is a demonstration of fidelity, temperance, prudence, justice, reverence to God, among other things. Thus, a member can say, “yes, I strive to live up to my obligations and practice “masonry” in my day to day life. And yes, I am a member of the oldest fraternity in the world, the Free and Accepted Masons, otherwise known as Freemasons”. Masonry, therefore, is how you convince the world by your actions and that on becoming a mason, you have become a better man. If I am to venture into a little bit of a sensitive topic here, I may say that, all members of the fraternity are Freemasons. I then dare to ask: Is everyone a Mason? Are you a Mason?

As I am embarking on this overseas trip, I leave the lodge in good and capable hands to our Senior Warden, Andrew Hawes. He will be sitting in the East for the May stated meeting as well as during the DOSI (exemplification) on May 9 to be held in our lodge. I have no doubt that he will do a fantastic job! Thank you, Bro. Andrew!

I look forward to be stateside in Mid-May and shortly thereafter, will start setting dates for third degrees. Oh, why do I smell warm ocean breeze and feel small-town vibe when thinking about an upcoming traveling third degree? Wink!

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