Grand Masters Message, February 2017
Brother Stephen T. McGuire
Most Worshipful Grand Master
I am extremely proud to be serving as the Grand Master of Rhode Island this year. There is no doubt Maureen would echo those thoughts.
That said, this has not been the kindest of years for us. As I said in the last column, my son Jack was married to our new daughter-in-law, Elizabeth on October 29th. We absolutely love her. It was a wonderful event and a good number of our friends and brothers shared it with us. Our family shared the highest of high feelings with family and friends. Within a week our youngest grandson Connor, was christened in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Greenwich. Again, the highest of highs and the whole family was there to hug and congratulate each other. Then, on November 19th, immediately after celebrating her granddaughter’s first birthday, Maureen’s sister Corrine was suddenly called to Heaven to sit beside God. He who we call the Supreme Architect had called Corrine home. The high feelings and toasts were instantly turned to gloom and tears. I’m typing this through tears but if I didn’t I wouldn’t be the Grand Master I’m trying to be. Our entire family who celebrated, toasted, and smiled together, immediately grieved and cried together. It would be impossible for me to be more proud of my sons, my nieces, my nephews, my wife and sister-in-law, my brother-in-law and especially Corrine’s husband and sons than I am. God Bless you Corrine, we love you!
Our second Grand Master’s visitation was to St. Johns Lodge No. 1 Providence on November 16th. Again, we had a great time. The speaker was M∴W∴Michael A. Halleran, an attorney, historian, and Past Grand Master of Kansas. He has written “The Better Angels of Our Nature, Freemasonry in the American Civil War”. I am presently in the midst of reading this and it is extremely well written and interesting. I’m thrilled to have a signed copy!
Maureen and I continue to have a good time wherever we go. Rhode Island is a small grand jurisdiction but we meet with brothers from everywhere who enjoy spending time with us. I suppose that’s because Maureen is so outgoing and I’m so reserved. Despite our tragedies, we have had a tremendous amount of fun over the last couple of months. In early December we had a wonderful trip. We spent a Tuesday and Wednesday in Philadelphia for the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and Friday and Saturday for the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia.
We really had a ball. Maureen and I flew to Philly on Tuesday morning and enjoyed dinner with our counterparts then I attended the Grand Lodge Wednesday afternoon. With friends from Delaware and New York, we then took a nice stroll and saw the lights and Christmas Carol displays at Macy’s and all the wonderful sights and Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal! Do not miss these if you’re ever in Philly for the holidays. As a special treat, Maureen and I were given a personal tour of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. This is one of the 3 or 4 most beautiful Grand Lodge buildings in the world and is simply breathtaking. What made this tour so special is that the young brother who gave us the tour used to give these tours professionally and he was a ranking officer of DeMolay in Pennsylvania. His fiancé, who was with us, is well esteemed in Pennsylvania Rainbow. They attended the Supreme Session of Rainbow in Rhode Island last summer, then attended a “Waterfire” in Providence, took a Gondola ride and became engaged on that ride. What a great personal tour we had.
On Thursday, Maureen and I rented a car to drive to Washington (eventually). First, we visited the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, that in itself was awesome. Then we drove to Annapolis, MD because our son Jack’s birthday was on Friday. We took him and Elizabeth to dinner, visited the open streets of Annapolis and spent Thursday night with them. On Friday, we drove to D. C. After a somewhat casual celebration on Friday evening we awoke to take buses to Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday morning. On Friday night, our Grand Secretary, R∴W∴Carl Willi, PGM and Lady Cristine had joined us in DC and they accompanied us to Arlington. At 11:00 AM on Saturday morning, the Grand Lodge of Washington, DC laid a Masonic Wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In 30-plus years as a Mason, this was the most impressive and solemn event I have ever witnessed. It sent shivers up and down one’s spine just to witness it.
On December 26th and 27th we were the guests of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts at their Annual Communication. As most of you know, the Grand Master of Massachusetts serves a 3-year term. This was the year a new Grand Master was installed and he was very well received. We need to continue to help our Masonic neighbors throughout New England thrive and grow. We let everyone know what great neighbors the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island brings to the table.
Our Grand Lodge Town meeting on December 3rd was attended by over 100 brothers. We had some wonderful conversations and enjoyed great camaraderie. We had presentations by our Public Relations Committee, the Grand Lecturer’s Office, the Director of Masonic Education and our new Social Media Committee to name a few. Many excellent questions were asked, some of which had readily available answers and some of which require further research. We have promised to answer all questions before this Masonic year is over so we will obviously be having another town meeting. I personally think these meetings are good for the Craft in Rhode Island but it’s up to you brothers to tell future Grand Masters whether or not you think they’re worthwhile.
By the time you read this my term as Grand Master will have less than four months remaining. Whether you think I’ve done a good job or not, I’ve truly tried to serve to the best of my ability. I swear I have never made a decision based on what I wanted, but always on what I believed to be right. There really haven’t been many problems this year. With a few exceptions, most decisions and actions have been pretty easy. I hope I can again say that the first of June!
Sincerely and fraternally,
Stephen T. McGuire