Grand Masters Message, April 2017

Brother Stephen T. McGuire
Most Worshipful Grand Master

Hello Brethren,

Our time as Grand Master and First Lady is flying by faster than anyone can imagine.

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My third Grand Master's visitation was to my Mother Lodge (Mt. Vernon No. 4) and was, once again, attended by a phenomenal number of Masons. I am amazed at the number of brothers who attend these events as well as the wonderful programs presented. This event had over 140 brothers in attendance as well as a fine presentation on restoration of classic sailboats. This subject is near and dear to my heart and I thoroughly enjoyed the extremely well prepared presentation.

These past two months have been extremely busy and Maureen and I have had a wonderful time both vacationing and representing Rhode Island. In January, we went on a wonderful cruise of the Western Caribbean, accompanied by 36 others. We had a ball! Our ports of call were Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. In Cozumel, Maureen and I went by ferry to Playa Del Carmen and then by bus to Chechen Itza. It was a long ride for a very short visit but the Mayan ruins were breath-taking and I would recommend this excursion to anyone. In Grand Cayman, we went shopping with M∴W∴Ray Hassell, Lady Lynn and their granddaughters Rachel and Callie. We had a great time but it was different for me shopping with young ladies. We shopped for several hours and no one asked, "when are we going to eat?". In Jamaica, Maureen made it up Dunn's River Falls all by herself Ð I needed a boost to get up a few rocks but made it.

When we returned to our ship (Celebrity Silhouette) from our Jamaica visit we immediately had a lodge meeting followed by a cocktail party. This Occasional Meeting of Grand Lodge was held at 18? 29.7" north of the equator and 77? 38.8" west of Greenwich. In attendance were three past Grand Masters of Rhode Island: M∴W∴Herbert McGuire, M∴W∴Steven Smith and M∴W∴Raymond Hassell. In addition, we were joined by R∴W∴Ronald Aungst, Sr., Past Grand Master of Pennsylvania and M∴W∴William Stevens ,Jr., Past Grand Master of Delaware.

W∴Dave LePage of Friendship Lodge No. 7 served as secretary of this occasional lodge and he was to make a special presentation of a 25-Year Service Medal to R∴W∴Joe Plante, Past Grand Marshal. Unfortunately, W∴LePage was very busy in the days leading up to the cruise and forgot the pin on his desk in Rhode Island. Thanks to the resourcefulness of Brother LePage, a 25-Year lapel pin was procured from Doric Lodge No. 140 of Fort Lauderdale, Florida the night before we sailed and all went off without a problem. Atta Boy, W∴Dave! It was also my pleasure to present a 25-Year Masonic lapel pin from St. Johns Lodge No. 1 Providence to R∴W∴Ron Reed. A great occasional meeting of Grand Lodge, miles from home, presenting 25-Year pins to two Past Grand Marshals. It can't get any better.

But it did! As great as our occasional meeting of Grand Lodge was, it was far from the highlight of the cruise. That highlight came the night before. R∴W∴Joe Plant and Lady Denise renewed their wedding vows after 30 years of marriage. Everyone within our cruise party attended and were honored to do so! R∴W∴Andre Gregoire very capably presided over the ceremonies and everyone was pleased to be with Denise and Joe to share this special event. I want an invitation for your renewal at your 60th!

Omaha, Nebraska was on neither Maureen nor my bucket list as places to visit but that's where the Grand Masters' Conference was held in February. The Grand Secretary and the Grand Council (excluding the Junior Grand Warden) attended and conducted themselves professionally and with dignity. Our Junior Grand Warden, R∴W∴Ken Poyton was unable to attend because of the passing of his Mom. He and Colleen were sorely missed in Omaha and I ask that you keep them in your prayers. I also ask that you pray for Senior Warden R∴W∴Glenn Carlson and Lady Dawn over the recent passing of Glenn's brother.

Elsewhere within this issue you will find a notice for our 2nd Town Hall meeting on April 22nd. Please make every effort to attend. Many questions and issues were raised at our 1st meeting and we'll try to address those in April. I urge your attendance.

This will be my last issue of the RI Freemason as Grand Master. I can't believe this is all coming to an end, but I've tried to do a good job and Maureen and I hope most of you are satisfied. In the next issue, I'll be back as immediate Past Grand Master to express my many thanks to all of you for your support.

Sincerely and fraternally,

Stephen T. McGuire
Grand Master