Wow! June 2011 has come and gone. The last three (3) years have passed by very quickly. I started on the Grand Line in June 2008, had the Installation on June 4, 2011 and now, it is almost the middle of July, 2011.
Here is a quick recap of what has kept me and my wife busy over the last six (6) weeks.
June 2, Thursday, to June 4, Saturday: 136th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB
It was an honor to have Most Worshipful Brother (MWB) Nitoy Abergas, Grand Master (GM) of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Philippines (MW GLP), Most Worshipful Brother Santy Lascano, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of Washington and Right Worshipful Brother (RWB) Jun Espino, Senior Grand Warden (SGW) of the MW GLP attend my Installation. It was a thrill to have Very Worshipful Brother (VWB) Roy Chu, Very Worshipful Brother Mike Sevilla, Worshipful Brother Tony Salonga & his wife, and Worshipful Brother Jun Sevilla among the attendees. These four (4) Brethren came from the four (4) corners of the U.S. and are from my Mother Lodge, Capitol City Lodge No 174, MW GLP. VWB Roy was the Worshipful Master of my Mother Lodge when I was Initiated, Passed and Raised in 1991. Also among the visitors were Brethren from Chicago: RWB Fred Magsino, RWB Danny SaturnoWB Butch & Sis Virgie Ramos, Bro Chris Palisoc Sanchez and Bro Eric Cabrera. We also had VWB Bong Leano & his wife come in from Edmonton.
The Installation Team, headed by MWB Steve Kane, did an excellent job. At the Installation, we also had Sisters & Brothers from my Eastern Star Chapter, Queen Winnipeg Chapter, and from other Chapters attend. An Honor Guard was formed by the Khartum Komedians; Winnipeg Chapter, International Order of DeMolay; and Bethel #'s 9 and 13, International Order of Job's Daughters. There was a good number of Brethren from various Lodges, including the three (3) Lodges I am a member of here in Winnipeg, i.e., Capitol Lodge No 136, Fil-Can Cabletow Lodge No 189 and Castle Island Lodge UD.
I did not have and was not given a clue as to what will happen at the GM's Gala after the Installation. The Planning Committee led by RWB Junn Manalang made sure that I was kept in complete darkness. All he told me was that it will be an evening which the guests and visitors will talk about. It turned out to be a very special and memorable evening for everyone. The entertainment included performances of the Sikaran-Arnis kids, the Cabletow Ladies Dancers, various singers, the BiBAK Dancers and others. My daughter, Anna, did an excellent job in "roasting" me. T-shirts having my theme (Freemasonry - a way of life) were donated by the Viking Brethren of Steinbach.
The picnic on Sunday was a great end to a very wonderful weekend. Thanks to RWB Junn Manalang and the members of his Committee, the Ladies & Brethren of Fil-Can Cabletow Lodge No 189 and the Filipino-Canadian Freemasons & Ladies of Manitoba, specially those from Steinbach and Fisher Branch, for their support for the GM's Gala and the various activities over the weekend.
June 5, Sunday: District Deputy Grand Masters (DDGM's) Training at the MMC Boardroom
The newly installed DDGM's participated in a training session handled by RWB Lynn Latozke. The Senior GL Officers were also in attendance.
June 7, Tuesday: Committee to Select Committees at the MMC Boardroom
The Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and Members of the various Committees of the Board of General Purposes (BGP) and of the Special Committees of the Grand Master were selected. We have an excellent group of Board Members and hopefully there is an excellent fit between their talents and their assignments.
June 9, Thursday, to June 11, Saturday: 105th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alberta in Grande Prairie, AB
MWB Peter Dunlop was installed as the GM of the GL of Alberta in a closed ceremony. MWB Peter said that as #2 (he is the 2nd GM to be installed among the four GM's of the Prairies), he always tries harder. He and his lovely wife, Sis Carmen, are off to an excellent year.
I was not in Winnipeg for the June 9 visit of the Supreme Guardian and Associate Supreme Guardian of the International Order of Job's Daughter (IOJD). Our Senior Grand Warden, (SGW) RWB Doug Webster and his Lady, Sis Valerie, were busy in taking care of the visitors. Sis Valerie is the Jurisdictional Guardian and RWB Doug is the Associate Jurisdictional Guardian for Manitoba.
We held the first meeting of this Masonic Year's Grand Lodge Officers (GLO) on June 14, Tuesday. Henceforth, the GLO meeting will be held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 6 PM at the MMC Boardroom.
June 16, Thursday, to June 18, Saturday: 140th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon in Langley, BC
We witnessed the Installation of MWB Bill Cave as the GM. He is #3. We have known MWB Bill's lovely wife, Sis Jan, for the past three (3) years.
Mae and I attended the birthday celebration of Bro Oscar David in Abbotsford, BC. It was great to meet and have fellowship with some of the BC Brethren and Ladies.
We held the first Strategic Planning Workshop on June 21, Tuesday at the MMC Boardroom. This will be the first of a number of workshops to come up with a Strategic Plan for the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. All the Senior GLO's are participating along with selected Brethren from various Lodges. WB Jimm Simon has volunteered his time and talent to facilitate this very important process. The discussions were engaging and meaningful.
June 23, Thursday, to June 25, Saturday: 105th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan in Regina, SK
MWB Dennis Skuce was installed as the GM of the GL of Saskatchewan. He is #4. We first met MWB Dennis and his lovely wife, Sis Vivian, in 2008 when MWB Dennis was elected and installed as the Grand Junior Warden of the GL of Saskatchewan. On the way to Regina we took a detour to avoid a flooded section of Highway 1 just east of Regina. We went on Highway 16, then on Highway 15 through Melville, then on Highway 10 down to Regina. On Friday afternoon, Highway 1 was clear so we did not have to take a detour on the way back to Winnipeg.
It was great to see GM #'s 2, 3 & 4 installed in the Grand East of their respective Grand Lodges. Mae and I look forward to meeting them in October at the Conference of Western Canada Grand Lodges in Banff, AB.
June 26, Sunday: Installation of Bethel #9, IOJD at the MMC
Attendance was excellent at the installation of Bethel #9, International Order of Job's Daughters. It was great to have a full Bethel room. Everything went well despite the heat.
June 30, Thursday: Organizational Meeting of the Masonic Family Pipe Band
A good number of possible members of the soon-to-be-established Masonic Family Pipe Band attended the organizational meeting at the Khartum Shrine Temple. We hope to have more people from the various Lodges and Masonic Bodies and their families and friends join the band.
July 2, Saturday: Dauphin Countryfest Parade
MWB Ted Jones, PGM and Grand Secretary, and VWB Bert Manalang, Grand Standard Bearer, and I left Winnipeg at 5:30 AM for a 4-hour drive to Dauphin. The drive to and from was great, the weather was excellent, the parade went very well and the lunch and fellowship with the Dauphin Brethren, Shriners & Ladies were excellent. Thanks to WB Randy Ashcroft for driving me in his wife's beautiful red convertible during the parade.
July 6, Wednesday: Presentation of 50-year service medal to WB Jack Houston, Doric Lodge No 36, in Boissevain, MB
VWB Bert Manalang, Grand Standard Bearer, was my traveling companion to the dinner, during which I presented the 50-year service medal to WB Jack Houston, Doric Lodge No 36. We were joined by RWB Al Hadley, Deputy Grand Master (DGM), his wife, Sis Carol, RWB Doug Webster, SGW, and his wife, Sis Valerie. It was an excellent day for driving to and from Boissevain. Everyone had a wonderful time at the dinner.
July 8, Friday, to July 10, Sunday: Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Mystery Lodge No 174, Thompson, MB
RWB Al Hadley, Deputy Grand Master (DGM), his wife, Sis Carol, my wife and I flew to Thompson on Friday. It was our first time to be in Thompson and we looked forward to a great weekend. We were not disappointed. We were hosted by RWB Jake Mohns and his wife, Sis Jodie, who were most gracious and hospitable. I was very pleasantly surprised to have VWB Ron Hall, Grand Pursuivant, and his wife, Sis Roseanne, drive up to Thompson to join us.
The Lodge Meeting and Meet & Greet on Friday evening; the breakfast at the Marina, fishing at Paint Lake and BBQ at Senior Warden Bro Kevin Barnowich's house on Saturday; and the breakfast at RWB Jake's house on Sunday - all made up for a very excellent weekend for everyone.
I was given another title on Saturday after I caught a clam while we were fishing. I am now also referred to as the "Grand Clam Master". We had for breakfast the fish we caught. However, the clam was returned to the river by the Boat Captain, WB Ken Bigelow, who was ably assisted that whole Saturday afternoon by the 1st Mate, Bro Bryan Cruda.
There were three (3) male non-Masons at the BBQ who were very impressed with the warm reception by and the friendship of the Lodge Brethren & Ladies, most of whom they met for the first time. Hopefully, they will take the next step and request to seek Masonic light. There were also two (2) Demitted Brethren who enjoyed breaking bread and having fellowship with the Lodge Brethren. Perhaps these two will consider coming back to Lodge. That will be great!
The Sunday breakfast was prepared by Junior Warden Bro James Goble and his assistants, Bro Bryan Cruda and Fellow Craft Bro Alberto Osorio, formerly from Peru and who introduced the Ladies and Brethren to Grapa at the BBQ.
We also had MWB C Rae Haldane-Wilsone, who is a member of the Lodge, come with RWB Ed Mars and his bubbly wife, Sis Marie, who are from Minnesota and are regular visitors to Thompson. As such, RWB Al, Sis Carol, Sis Mae and I referred to as irregulars as of that weekend. I believe that we are now considered regulars. All four of us are looking forward to being back in Thompson in September during the GM's Nothern Trip. We will have a rededication of the Lodge as part of the extended celebration of the Lodge's 50th Anniversary and of 50 years of Freemasonry in Thompson. (Mystery Lodge No 174 has a website which will be unveiled soon. There are pictures taken during the weekend and posted on the website which, unfortunately, is still not for public release. I will provide the link to the website when it is made public.)
Well, as I said, it has been a running start. Now, I think I have some time to try to catch my breath.