Grand Masters Message
Grand Master’s Address to the Brethren at the 226th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Brother Peter Iacobucci
Most Worshipful Grand Master
Threshold of a Dream
I stand here today as your 162nd Grand Master and I truly owe so much to all of you. As with the 161 Grand Masters who preceded me, I am honored and humbled to serve you and to guard the tenants of our great institution and hopefully fulfill your expectations as your brother and fellow Freemason. As with all great and important undertakings, I thank God for the grace he bestows upon me and for guiding me along my many paths in life, this one being a truly unforeseen gift. There is no way to thank everyone who has impacted my Masonic life nor is it possible to relate the depth of that gratitude. However, there are a few that I would be remiss to not recognize.
My heartfelt thanks and undying gratitude to Most Worshipful Past Grand Master, Brother Richard L. Ault for appointing me in Grand Lodge line and thus offering me this tremendous opportunity to serve our brethren of this great jurisdiction and installing me today. Because of this possibly misguided decision, our lives will be forever linked either as a curse (for him) or blessing. Either way for me; it is beyond doubt a blessing for both the opportunity to be Grand Master and gaining such a great friendship. You are as we say, "a true and trusted brother".
In the process, I gained another lifelong brother and friend in, my Grand Marshal, Brother Gil J. Fontes, Jr., whose incredible enthusiasm and love for the Craft coupled with his loyalty and support, crowned this amazing journey. Our travels have been swift and our burdens light because of our friendship. We shared great times and supported each other through our personal difficult times. To you Right Worshipful Gilly, this journey could have never been as wonderful if you were not with me.
As with all journeys, home is always the place to anchor, to rest, and refresh oneself. Of course, always waiting there to receive a weary traveler are our ladies. I could never forget our ladies, Fran and Blanca for their love, dedication, and support for us as well as their love for our fraternity; even if it did cost me diamonds. Their love transcends the brilliance and value of any precious stone. In addition, Lady Linda Ault was a great guide to our ladies throughout the years and of course occasional influential words to me as well. Lady Linda, your kind tender loving support is imbedded in our hearts.
A special note for Most Worshipful Past Grand Master, Brother Bradford L. Barco whom through your offer, I shared your year as Grand Master, as your Grand Marshal. We had an incredible time and since then you have continually supported me and always offered good council and brotherly love. For all that, the resume recitation today which was unbelievable and for being emcee at the banquet this evening I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
To all the Past Grand Masters, I have learned so much from you as you guided me along the way. Your love for our Grand Jurisdiction is unequaled and your insights beyond reproach. My brethren I tell you there is no greater band of selfless brothers than your Past Grand Masters. They still care about the Craft as fervently as when they were in office. How can one not admire their works? Most Worshipful Steven T. McGuire, we shared one interesting year and your accomplishments were many. I thank you for the freedom you have given me in these last few months to plan this upcoming year. I sincerely hope you look upon the success of your year with a warm satisfied feeling of a job well done. I look forward to working with you as the chairman of the Memorial Committee and assist in your quest to raise monies to replace the Thomas Smith Webb Memorial Stone.
To all the distinguished guests, I wish the brethren of this jurisdiction had the opportunity to know you as I have. Your love for the Craft, dedication to the principles of Freemasonry and unselfish exchange of knowledge between our jurisdictions is not only commendable but truly invaluable. We have spent many times together and the chains of our friendships will endure a lifetime, for that I thank each one of you. A special thank you for our two Brothers from British Columbia, Canada, Right Worshipful Danny Iacobucci Past Deputy Grand Master and Right Worshipful Bruce Angus, District Deputy Grand Master (please stand, can you pick out Danny?) for attending this distance communication. I am honored to have you here today. That’s right, Iacobucci from coast to coast. My brethren you cannot escape!
My personal tribute to the late Brother David R. Best, who first introduced me to Freemasonry while we were Chef Instructors at Johnson and Wales Culinary School in Providence, RI. Executive Chef and Brother David was a most loving and giving person whose passion for culinary arts and Freemasonry was outstanding. He was, like most Executive Chefs a stickler for detail and always sought perfection. He exuded love for Freemasonry with great enthusiasm. Because of knowing Brother David, I was about to petition Roger Williams Lodge No. 32, in 1978 but, instead returned to the industry and traveled the country for many years. In 1994, I finally petitioned Roger Williams Lodge and the rest is history. Brother David’s bible, from Dubois Lodge No. 520 in Indiana, where he was raised, and his picture sits upon the Grand Lodge Altar. I promised his lovely Lady Genie it would be there as I assumed my obligation as Grand Master. Brother David became a member of our Manchester Lodge No. 12, Yesterday would have been his 94th birthday. Thank you, Brother David for your friendship and continued support throughout the years. I will forever miss you.
Congratulations to our new District Deputy Grand Master for the Southern District, Right Worshipful Brother Rick Baccus and his Grand Master of Ceremonies, Right Worshipful Brother Richard Lynch as they begin their incredible journey to the Grand East. I have complete confidence in them to represent this Grand Lodge in a most exemplary manner. Let us give them a round of applause to wish them well on their journey.
It is with pleasure that I announce the new Director of Masonic Education, Most Worshipful Wyman P. Hallstrom, III, Past Grand Master, who will be heading our education program. A debt of gratitude is owed to Right Worshipful Paul Kokolsky for the past 26+ years of dedication with all the nights he sacrificed and the myriad of programs he developed for our educational benefit. Most in this room are a product of his tutelage. Thank you, Right Worshipful Paul.
A heartfelt thanks to Maria, Diane, and Marcee, our office staff, for their incredible assistance with not only the many office duties but also all the special requests, telephone calls, and revisions that make proceedings such as this successful. Always diligent and smiling with an occasional wide eyed "What"?
To the brethren of this great jurisdiction, words cannot explain all that you have given Gilly and me throughout our journey. Your friendship and brotherly love extends far beyond anyone’s dreams. It is because of you that we stand here today ready to begin the last leg of our journey with an unbridled enthusiasm to once again submerge ourselves in your company and make you proud you have supported us.
My brothers every day is a new day and today we stand on the brink of the future of Freemasonry. The world is changing at an unprecedented rate and it is easy to get caught up in its progressive wave. We have many new things to bring to the Craft that the Grand Line has committed to implement over the next few years. I will not burden these proceedings with all the specifics, as that will be for the DDGMs, save one. That is the theme of this year. In the Blue Book you will see a quote and I will explain that quote and the reason it is the theme of this year.
My brothers the future of our Craft resides in the skillful hand of the officers of the Blue Lodge. The true work in the quarry is done in the Blue Lodge and it is serious business. The three degrees that we confer are the heart and soul of our Craft and are not to be altered or casually dismissed. We are all on the level but that does not mean that we are all equally talented nor all share the same opinions. God has given all of us individual talents that we are to perform to his glory and to the welfare of our fellow man. Therefore, by the hand of God some are great leaders and others have a lot of heart but not the same skills. So, as brothers, what do we do? Do we trample those less talented in leadership and ignore the heart and good works of the others? Do we debase brothers of different opinions? Nay, I say. We must understand, as brothers, that diversity in talent, opinions, religion, race, or life style should be an opportunity to strengthen our bonds in the principles of our Craft. Doing such we gain more light. Not by agreeing with but respecting each other’s differences resulting in enlightenment. Enlightenment that is not of esoteric knowledge but, of experiencing true brotherly love and affection. THAT IS THE LIGHT OF FREEMASONRY!
In conclusion, I address the theme of this year which is so eloquently portrayed in a special poem that I have previously recited on a few occasions. Listen carefully to its words:
"Threshold of a Dream" - Moody Blues
My brothers let us stretch out our hands to our brothers and live that promise and dream of Freemasonry we all joined to enjoy. The Masonic Principles of Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love, when unselfishly given from our hearts, is the cement that binds us into one common mass which makes the strongest fraternity on earth. This places us on that "Threshold of a Dream". I love you all my Brothers. ?
Thank you all,
Most Worshipful Grand Master