Grand Masters Message, December 2016
Brother Stephen T. McGuire
Most Worshipful Grand Master
I realize time goes faster and faster as we age but these past 6 months have absolutely flown by
I’ve worn lots of hats in this Grand Jurisdiction; Chief Director for 10 years, Master of my lodge four times, Assistant Grand Lecturer, and obviously, the offices that lead to being Grand Master. Trust me, none of them come close to preparing you for the obligations and responsibilities that accompany the position of Grand Master. Over the last 8 years I’ve met countless brothers, shared meals and fellowship with them and not only consider them brothers, but friends. For me it’s easy to deal with brothers and friends: I just have too be me as honest and open as possible. As Grand Master, I’m also responsible for ensuring the honor and respectability of this Grand Jurisdiction. I’m responsible for ensuring that every Grand Master who has gone before me (alive or dead) would be proud of the way we conduct ourselves. I’ve told you before how proud I am, and how much I appreciate your confidence in electing me, but every day I hope and pray I’m doing the right thing, by each and every one of you. The time is flying by but every day I want every brother and visitor, from within or without this Grand Jurisdiction to know that this year, the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island will conduct itself with dignity, honor and respectability regardless of the issues at hand. Anything less is unacceptable to me.
I don’t want to write anything long and boring but you should be made aware of what a wonderful trip this is.
In no particular order:
On September 9th Friendship Lodge held their Annual Communication followed by their golf tournament on September 10th. Both were resounding successes. It is in no way my intention to announce the passing of each Blue Lodge Annual but that said, this Annual was indeed special. Worshipful Master Trevor Humphrey, Senior Warden Robert Barrows and Junior Warden John Barnes are all Eagle Scouts! Maybe someone out there can tell me of precedence for this but it’s a first for me, these are three truly good men and brothers. They are the type of persons every lodge should be attempting to make brothers of. The Grand Lodge has redesigned our Boy Scout Certificate to be presented to deserving young men at the conferral of their Eagle Scout rank. Every lodge in this state should be contacting their local scout troops to know when such ceremonies will be held. These are young men we want to call future Brothers!
On September 11th it was my privilege to receive the DeMolay Legion of Honor Degree. This award was totally unexpected and I am truly grateful to those who decided to confer this degree on me as well as the brothers who took the time out of their busy schedules to learn and perform the ritual. I am a staunch supporter of our Masonic Youth even though I was not the most active member of Byron Northup Chapter back in the 1970’s. I am extremely proud of receiving this degree but it is bittersweet to think I had it conferred on me while brothers who were better DeMolays have not. Most of them are now Senior DeMolays but not Freemasons. In virtually every case that is our loss!
October 8th was my first Grand Master’s visitation to the Northern District hosted by Roger Williams Lodge No. 32. We had an overwhelming turnout of 114 brothers on my suite. We were treated to a marvelous presentation by Edward Achorn, author of “Fifty-Nine in 84” and “The Summer of Beer and Whiskey”. Edward spoke on the early years of professional baseball with a special emphasis on local teams such as the Providence Grays. As a lifelong baseball fan, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and was thrilled to receive copies of both books signed by the author. W∴Jonathon Snowman of Roger Williams Lodge also presented me with a nice plaque to remember the evening by. I truly appreciate the display of brotherly love and affection from W∴Snowman, the members of Roger Williams and all the brothers of the Northern District for a night I’ll never forget!
The next day Elliot, Lynne, Maureen and I attended the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Delaware and had a great time. I learn new things all the time on these trips. In this Grand Lodge session, I noticed a good number of brothers not wearing aprons. I mentioned this to a couple of Grand Masters that, if I saw brothers without aprons in our Grand Lodge, R∴W∴Elliott would be escorting them out and I would be having a conversation with our Grand Tyler, they all agreed. I later asked the Grand Master of Delaware why this was allowed and he told me they all had “Lapel Aprons” on. They actually have a small paper apron that fits in their lapel pocket which is acceptable at a Grand Lodge meeting, go figure! We also attended the Annual Communication of the Grand Commandery of Massachusetts and Rhode Island in Mansfield, Massachusetts and had another great time. As always, we were well received by Masons and their ladies alike.
We were honored to attend the Special Ladies Luncheon hosted by Franklin Lodge No. 20 and Charity Lodge No. 23. This is a great event and, by the time you read this, we will have attended the banquet celebrating Charity Lodge’s 150th anniversary. I am so lucky to serve in a year when so many milestones are attained.
F.Y.I. since Maureen and I have so much spare time on our hands, our youngest son, Jack, told us in May he would be getting married on Halloween weekend this year. Once we realized he was serious we embraced the idea and as those of you who know Maureen can imagine, made it a focal point of our year. The wedding took place in Annapolis. We absolutely LOVE our new daughter-in-law and the other additions to our family.
We are excitedly looking forward to serving the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island for the next five months.
Please accept the sincere wishes of the entire McGuire family for a joyous Holiday Season, celebrated in the traditions most dear to you, with those you love and in the spirit that makes them so special both emotionally and spiritually. I pray 2017 is a year your family looks back on for generations and remembers it as a year that was especially kind. I’m no ‘Trekie’ but I honestly hope you all, “Live long and prosper”.
If you receive this in time, please make every effort to attend our “Town Hall Meeting” on December 3rd.
Sincerely and fraternally,
Stephen T. McGuire