by RW Bro Bruce Quirk
Approaching ninety Brethren, their ladies, friends and ‘little helpers’ [three sons of W Bro Russell Dobson], were in attendance at the Castle Hill Masonic Centre for Lodge Jose Rizal’s third Regular meeting held on the eighth of May. This was a very special meeting as the two candidates were the sons of members [Lewis*] of this new and vibrant Lodge, Lodge Jose Rizal.
The Lodge tyled at six o’clock and the private business was soon dealt with and then the many visitors, some forming impressive fraternals were admitted. A successful ballot was then conducted for the admission of the two candidates, Mr Larry Pamplona and Mr Daniel Vincent Placido.
The Worshipful Master, W Bro Manny Maniago, then asked W Bro Fidel Pamplona to take ‘The Chair’ and thus gave him the privilege, which is every fathers' dream, to initiate his own son.
An alarm was sounded and the two candidates were admitted in due and ancient form under the care and direction of the Junior Deacon, Bro Manuel Placido, Mr Daniel Placido’s father. The ceremony that followed can only be described as ‘as good as it could possibly be’ and was a totally heart warming experience for all in the Lodge Room to be audience to, the Mode of Preparation and the Working Tools, delivered by Master Masons were explained with such expression and meaning it left all in the Lodge Room thinking ‘Just how good was that’. The candidates were then retired to restore themselves to their personal comfort and, after signing the register, were positioned in the North East corner where VW Bro Manny Maniago recited that lengthy charge, full of meaning, ‘The Final Charge’ which explains to the candidates what is expected of them now they are Masons and the duties contained there in, recited in a way that only VW Bro Maniago can.
The ceremony over and a full photo opportunity taken, W Bro Maniago resumed ‘The chair’ and finalized the meeting before all retired to the South [Festive Board#] to take part in what can only be described as an enormous banquet with an abundance of food catered for all tastes and the sweets were something the ‘Master Chefs’ could only dream about, that fruit salad ‘WOW’.
In response to the toast to ‘The Newly Initiated Brothers’, proposed by Bro Manny Placido, both candidates rose and responded in turn which bought cheers of recognition and acknowledgement from all in the room. The DGIW [District Grand Inspector of Workings] for District 35 VW Bro Bill McBey then gave each candidate a lapel badge in a ‘good will’ gesture and was gratefully received by each.
As the hour approached ten o’clock the Worshipful Master W Bro Manny Maniago rose and said ‘We begin early so we can finish early’ and with that the Junior Warden proposed the Junior Wardens Toast.
‘To our Next Happy Meeting at Jose Rizal.’
[As adapted from RW Bro Quirk's original article that appeared in the Masonic Regions website.]
This is history in the making for Lodge Jose Rizal 1045, as this were the first two candidates & initiates of the Lodge. What makes it more special is that both Bro Larry Pamplona & Bro Daniel Placido are both Lewis; sons of the current Senior Warden, W Bro Fidel Pamplona & Sis Pen Pamplona and current Junior Deacon, Bro Manny Placido and Sis Do Placido. respectively.
[* "Lewis is traditional English for a man who is the son, grandson, or direct male descendant of a Freemason. The term comes from the device traditionally used by operative masons, consisting of two wedge-shaped side pieces fit together by a straight centerpiece, to raise heavy blocks of stone into place; symbolizing the utility and strength of family heritage in building Masonic character."]
Both young men were highly recommended, & applied for the degree 'on their own freewill & accord' & talented in their own rights; the stuff that future & new generations of Freemasons are in this Lodge - young, vibrant & talented.
Another pillar of this Lodge are the ladies. Our brethren can't thank them enough for their support & help in making sure that the Festive Board & other social activities of the Lodge are graced by their presence. The atmosphere is akin to a family event, wherein everyone [even the children] are having a good time!
Another 'secret' is the extended & very informal South [which, "according to Masonic tradition, medieval European stonemasons would meet, eat, and shelter outside working hours in a Lodge on the southern side of a building site, where the sun warms the stones during the day. The social Festive Board #(or Social Board) part of the meeting is thus sometimes called the South. Early Lodges often met in a tavern or any other convenient fixed place with a private room." In fact, The Grand Lodge of England was founded in a tavern or pub called 'Goose & Gridiron'!].
Hence, an early toast of the Junior Warden so that brethren & other guests who wants to go home can do so after the formalities of the South. The brethren & ladies stayed till about 12:00 midnight having fellowship, dancing, and general clean up while polishing off the remainder of the drinks & food!