I would like to begin this month's message by once again congratulating the recipients of our 25 year pins, Brother Gary Berard and Right Worshipful Samuel A. Miller. It was an honor and a pleasure at our March meeting to be able to present to these loyal and dedicated brothers their commemorative pins honoring their 25 years of devotion to both Freemasonry in Rhode Island and to Redwood Lodge. Congratulations as well to Worshipful Donovan Lewis for his 25 years in Masonry, as well as Worshipful Stephen Beranbaum and Brother Howard London for their FIFTY years as Masons and as members of Redwood Lodge. Your service to the craft is appreciated!
This month we will have the pleasure of conducting the Master Mason degree on three candidates of Redwood Lodge, as well as one courtesy degree for a candidate from St. Paul's Lodge #14. Sometimes it is easy to take things in life for granted, and this goes for Masonry as well. I am sure that all of us can remember when we were raised as Master Masons and the feelings and emotions we experienced. The Master Mason degree has been said to represent the highest step in the spiritual unfoldment of Masonry. The great Shakespearian actor and Mason Edwin Booth once wrote that he had "never and nowhere met such tragedy so real and so sublime and so magnificent as the legend of Hiram". Please consider joining your Brothers for this important event in the Masonic journey of our candidates. Remember what it meant to you to have your Lodge Brothers welcome you as you were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Your officers will be working hard to conduct a well presented and meaningful degree and it will be made even more memorable for the candidates to see as many of you there as possible. We will be opening the Lodge at 5:30 so we can take care of all the business before dinner, which will be at 6:00. Dinner will be another of the wonderful meals prepared by our caterer for the year, Brother Dave Eccleston. I cannot thank Dave enough for all that he has done for us during my year in the east. Each meal has been wonderful and I do not know where I would be without his help. We will then resume labor at 7:00 and get right into the candidates proficiency test and then the Master Mason degree. It will be a full night but I am sure a memorable one for our candidates. Again, I hope to see you there.
Last month we also had the pleasure of enjoying a program presented by our Senior Warden, and presumptive Master for the 2017-2018 Masonic year, Brother Javier Alfonzo. Brother Alfonzo clearly and beautifully presented an explanation of the eastern philosophy of Zen and the techniques of calming oneself through the practice of meditation. It was yet another wonderful experience for us at Redwood Lodge to have exposure to an area that few of us have explored. Brother Alfonzo showed how rich and diverse Redwood Lodge is, not only in the diversity of backgrounds but in the religion, experience and philosophy of its members.
In May, Brother Alfonzo will be addressing you from this space in the Builder and introducing himself to you as the presumptive Master. As such, this will be my last message to you. I have been honored to serve Redwood Lodge as its Master for the last year and have enjoyed the chance to carry on its wonderful traditions. There is certainly no better way to conclude a year in the East than to raise new Brothers as Master Masons. To all my officers, I thank you for your hard work this year and for your loyal support. To all the Brethren, I thank you as well for your encouragement, advice and for your participation in the life of Redwood Lodge. I truly look forward to the future of our Lodge for with the leadership of Brother Alfonzo next year, and with the strong line of officers that follow, the upcoming years of Masonry for us will truly be bright.
I will close with this quote from Brother Manly P. Hall:
" The Master Mason's symbol is the rising sun, for in him the globe of the day has indeed risen in all its splendor from the darkness of the night, illuminating the immortal East with the first promise of approaching day."
Be proud to be a Freemason. Be proud of Redwood Lodge. Thank you all and see you in April.
Robert T. Goff