The Rite Word - Articles

The Rite Word is an official publication of the Valley of San Jose, Orient of California of the A.A.S.R. of Freemasonry, published monthly except July and August, at the San Jose Scottish Rite Center, 2455 Masonic Drive, San Jose, CA 95125.  Phone # 408-978-7483

From the Venerable Master (August 2017)

posted Aug 2, 2017, 10:48 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite


     I will only focus on the Stand Up Comedy Show that the Lodge of        Perfection has planned for Sunday, August 27th.

We will gather at 6pm for our social time and serve a buffet dinner at 6:45.

     Our stand up comedian, Michael Mancini, will take the stage at 7:30pm.

     Michael Mancini has been on many TV talk shows, Comedy Central, and headlines at many of the top comedy clubs.  He is revered as the World’s Funniest Cop for a good reason; he is genuinely very funny.   He has many fun stories about his job and interactions with people.  He is a real police officer in Santa Cruz.  I have known him for many years and have watched his act develop into what it is today.  I think of him as a truly fun act. 

     We request that you make reservations as soon as possible.  Please call the Scottish Rite office @ 408-978-7483, email at: or visit the office to make your reservations.  We accept cash, credit card, or check and the cost is only $20.00 for dinner and show.   Invite friends and lodge members to join us that evening as this isn't a closed event.  Suggested attire is coat and tie.
 Your friends can call here direct or you can make reservations for them.

Martin Maxey

Venerable Master



From the Wise Master (August 2017)

posted Aug 2, 2017, 10:46 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated Aug 2, 2017, 10:46 AM ]


I am sure that all of you, who attended the Grand Master Reception on July 11th, are in agreement with me that the Reception was something to remember for a long time.  MW John Heisner regaled us with a memorable presentation, a real inspirational speech about us as a fraternity.  Sharing with us his thoughts and observations from his work and travel was absolutely special!  As I said, something to remember!

Now, that the summer time is upon us, and the vacation season is in full swing, allow me to share with you some quotes from great masons from the past.

Wherever you are enjoying your summer break, having a Mai-Tai in Hawaii or a Guinness in Dublin, I think that those quotes will be a good food for thought.

“Freemasonry is an institution founded on eternal reason and truth; whose deep basis is the civilization of mankind, and whose everlasting glory it is to have the immovable support of those two mighty pillars, science and morality” George Washington.

“The secret of Masonry, like the secret of life, can be known only by those who seek it, serve it, and live it.  It cannot be uttered; it can only be felt and acted.  It is, in fact, an open secret, and each man knows it according to his quest and capacity.  Like all things worth knowing, no one can know it for another and no man can know it alone.” William Howard Taft.

“Freemasonry is a moral order, instituted by virtuous men, with the praiseworthy design of recalling to our remembrance the most sublime truths, in the midst of the most innocent and social pleasures, founded on liberality, brotherly love and charity.” Andrew Jackson.

“We Masons are among the fortunate ones who are taught to meet together with others opposing convictions or competitive ideas and yet respect each other as Brothers.” Albert Pike.

“Freemasonry embraces the highest moral laws and will bear the test of any system of ethics or philosophy ever promulgated for the uplift of man.” Douglas MacArthur.

“I ask of each Mason, of each member, of each brother, that he shall remember ever that there is upon him a peculiar obligation to show himself in every respect a good citizen; for after all, the way he can best do his duty by the ancient order to which he belongs is by reflecting credit upon that order by way in which he performs his duty as a citizen of the United States.” Theodore Roosevelt.

“Masonic labor is purely a labor of love.  He who seeks to draw Masonic wages in gold and silver will be disappointed.  The wages of a Mason are in the dealings with one another; sympathy begets sympathy, kindness begets kindness, helpfulness begets helpfulness, and these are the wages of a Mason. Benjamin Franklin.

“Freemasonry is 'veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols' because these are the surest way by which moral and ethical truths may be taught. It is not only with the brain and with the mind that the initiate must take Freemasonry but also with the heart.” Carl Claudy.

“It is noble in its administration: to think and let think, beyond the narrow contracted prejudices of bitter sectarians in these modern times. It is general or universal language, fitted to benefit the poor stranger, which no other institution is calculated to reach, by extending the beneficent hand.” Harry Truman.

“So important, indeed, is it (The Light), and so much does it pervade with its influence the whole Masonic system, that Freemasonry itself anciently received, among other appellations, that of Lux, or Light, to signify that it is to be regarded as that sublime doctrine of Divine Truth by which the path of him who has attained it is to be illuminated in his pilgrimage of life.” Albert Mackey.

“Freemasonry is founded on the immutable laws of Truth and Justice and its grand object is to promote the happiness of the human race.” George Washington.

Ion Vasilescu

Wise Master


From the Commander of Kadosh (August 2017)

posted Aug 2, 2017, 10:42 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated Aug 2, 2017, 10:47 AM ]

A get-together by the San Jose Scottish Rite Council of Kadosh and friends in   August this year is for a visit the “Secret Water Laboratory” that helped save San Francisco Bay. A hidden gem, the Bay Area Model in Sausalito is a huge three-dimensional working model of the S.F. Bay and the Delta river system. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the Bay Model in the mid-1950’s to test a plan that would have created two fresh water lakes by damming up the north and south bays. Subsequent tests proved that both lakes would evaporate faster than they would fill up—thus saving our precious S.F. Bay. Other interactive testing included Sierra snowpack and dams, river orientations and flows, and delta levee structures.


The exhibit covers over 1.5 acres. Most visitors take the free self-guided tour starting from the “mountains” to the “sea”. A  theater shows a 12 minute orientation film. Next is a pilot’s overlook view of the whole bay system from 12,000 ft. altitude. Pathways around the model provide a sea-level perspective of the bay and delta including the bottom of the bay, runways for  the S.F. International Airport, and the “proposed” peripheral canal.


“Trekking the Model” is a free tour for the public, led by one of model’s park rangers or docents and is offered Tuesdays thru Fridays from 9:00 a.m.–4.00 p.m. during the week—and on week ends from 10.00–5.00.  Closed on Mondays. I am planning to lead a tour to this facility, and perhaps followed with a local dinner in that area, in the second half of August . If any of our members, families or friends are interested please see me at S.J.S. Rite or call at 650 948-1400 at I will attempt to coordinate the “best date” for a visit to the Bay Model.

Dell Bleiler, Commander of Kadosh



From the Master of Kadosh (August 2017)

posted Aug 2, 2017, 10:37 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

With summer in full bloom it makes me consider

Our tasks can be sweet and on occasion bitter

Though the days are long and often hot,

The nights are cool and full of thought.

So I like to think of what to do,

Interesting things for me and for you, 

Our time in this summer is but a few weeks left,

So we work to make sure in fall we are set.


Francis Bacon once said “Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority” I often think of this when considering how things are, and who is telling me what they are. One of the great aspects in Masonry is the opportunity to consider and reflect on what we do in life and how we can support society.

So I hope my brothers you have having a great summer, full of considerations and questions, time with your friends and family. Soon it will be fall, back to school, shorter days and busier schedules. It is great to relax while the sun shines, vacation with our families and friends but also good to get back to the business of life in the fall. For me, I will be spending the rest of the summer, talking to friends reflecting on our time together and asking questions about the universe. Hope you have time to do the same.

In the end, as always, I seem to find that I ask more questions than find the answers I seem to seek.  Perhaps that is just the way it is supposed to be.

Mark Burger


From the Venerable Master (July 2017)

posted Jul 10, 2017, 4:10 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

My Brothers:

     For those of you who attended the June 6th VMAP meeting I thank you for your attendance; we had a great turnout.  Stan Dodd associate director of membership services of the Supreme Council gave a slide presentation about our membership statistics and ideas about how to engage our membership through activity.

     Our local chairman of VMAP is Gregg Hall.  His wish is to have more people participate in his membership presentations throughout the year.  Gregg also chairs The Master Craftsman Program for Masonic education. This program is available through the web store at the Supreme Council of the 33*of the Scottish Rite.  If we all team up with Gregg I think we would enjoy the Scottish Rite and our personal Masonic journey more.

     I like to think that our seeking further light in Masonry ( Scottish Rite and York Rite)  should include an active participation in the bodies, if possible; if not, then active participation in social events planned by the bodies of our organizations. Our most visible social event happens monthly; it is our stated meeting and dinner.  This event is a short meeting with a social dinner.  To me, the social dinner is a time to sit with different members and their wives and get to know people better.  We would like to have a greater participation at our stated meetings as this is actually more of a social event.

     The Scottish Rite would like for the bodies to promote some other activities aside from the stated social dinner.  The Lodge of Perfection is busy working on the production of a standup comedy show on Sunday August 27th in the early evening.  Once confirmation has been made with our act we will commence taking reservations and selling tickets. . The Knights of Saint Andrew are working on block tickets to the Pleasanton Scottish Highland Games and Faire on September 2nd and 3rd.  My fellow Masters of the other 3 bodies will include their social plans in the Rite Word as well.  We do have fun and I hope all will join us when we do.

Martin Maxey

Venerable Master


From the Commander of Kadosh (July 2017)

posted Jul 10, 2017, 4:09 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Happy Birthday America (and) modern Free Masonry - 300 years!!

     When I was a young boy in Boston, and frequently traveling with my family,  my dad would point to that older nice house in the neighboring town of Quincy and say “That is the house of John Quincy Adams, Sixth President of the United States.” It was only years later when I (we) came to California that I had the opportunity to read and learn about the early history of the Revolutionary War and the first several Presidents of our country.  After John Quincy’s single term as President he was then elected to serve in the U.S. Congress as a Representative from Massachusetts.

    Among his many speeches and thoughts for our country were the need for roads and canals;  improvement of agriculture, commerce, manufacturing, the arts and sciences, the establishment of public institutions and seminaries (universities) of learning.  And among the sciences, he cited astronomy as the most important and called for the federal construction of astronomical observatories, or “lighthouses of the sky” to study the heavens such as was being done in Europe. Many of his fellow legislators and newspapers ridiculed him as “this was not what our frontiersmen and farmers want”.

    In December 1835, President Andrew Jackson sent to Congress a curious message:  An Englishman, James Smithson, had left a bequest of about $500,000 to the United States “to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.”  Although both houses of Congress licked their collective chops at the possibilities for personal profits, the House acceded to then Congressman John Quincy Adams’ fierce interest in science and named him chairman of the committee on how to determine and disburse the money.

    He intended combining George Washington’s vision of creating “institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge” with his own vision for national observatories or “lighthouses of the sky”. He called them “the link between heaven and earth, the means of acquiring knowledge, the greatest benefit that can be conferred upon mankind”. Thus began the Smithsonian Institution in the District of Columbia, and with other federal agencies, to build his “lighthouses of the sky”. One such observatory is our own Lick Observatory atop Mt. Hamilton in San Jose.

    In this mountain-top complex resides one of the largest refractor lens telescopes ever built. The lens was so big it had to be lugged to the top using ropes. It contains a hand crafted and hand polished glass refractor lens made by John A. Brashear and his wife in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.  And that same telescope has an appropriate brass nameplate attached to it mentioning the name of “Brashear” which was both visited and noted by one of our members.  And in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania there is an edifice by the name of John A. Brashear Masonic Lodge. It is sometimes amazing to see how many Masons across the years have used the Liberal Arts and Sciences, as we are exhorted to do in the Second Degree, to the betterment of mankind!

   Dell Bleiler, Commander of Kadosh


From the Master of Kadosh (July 2017)

posted Jul 10, 2017, 4:07 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

America the Beautiful


This month we celebrate the 4th of July, a time honored American tradition for the last 230 years, and in doing so we often can reflect on BBQ, baseball, brotherhood and Old Glory waving in the breeze on a warm summer day. I recently spoke to a friend from overseas who was amazed how often he would see an American Flag up in front of a house or business. Like Masonic symbols, in this country, we are proud of our heritage, but perhaps more than others, not afraid to display this in a very deep and personal way. No doubt that part of the American way is not only having beliefs but being able to express them without fear of reprisal from the government, as well as engage in conversation with our fellow citizens respecting that each of us has an opinion.


Our Constitution is Alive and Well.


Regardless of your views on the state of the country, the opinions of those who could, should or do run it, of our friends, family, brothers and colleagues, the Constitution continues to facilitate, protect and nurture this concept of exchange of these ideas. Sometimes I think that regardless of the headlines, we are better off now than we have ever been. We often as individuals consider the current state of affairs in the context of our own life, or what we see today. I truth, history moves much slower and is often not apparent until after it is written and considered. Soren Kierkegaard said “Sometimes, Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward”


We have a unique opportunity in Masonry to live and have an impact today, to “Put a dent in the universe” and as we have been doing it a long time, have our history to guide us. It is often in the time spent with brothers, that we make these considerations. Lately, these conversations often shift to the "state of the craft". We seem to spend a lot of time on the ‘Form’ as compared to the ‘Content’.


In a recent speech regarding the 300th Anniversary of speculative Masonry, I heard the Grand Master speak of persistence and humility. The operative word here is speculative.  We as speculative masons as we know, build not buildings but lives, or quality of life. This in a nutshell, is a great opportunity and passion of ours. I think as we communicate with the world and each other, we have the chance to take these toxins out of society and our time together in society each day. The word toxic comes from the Latin toxikon meaning poison arrow. I believe, or choose to believe, that all Masons are well intentioned and don't necessarily say or do things to other Masons or others in their lives to be mean or rude but perhaps don't know or listen to what they communicate. We all work to better understand each other and the world to make a better life for us and the people we encounter in the running of this Great Society. This is the essence of who can best work and best agree. It is interesting that hubris and humility have almost the same number of letters; it just takes a few more letters for one to create the latter.                     


Mark Burger, Master of Kadosh


From the Wise Master (July 2017)

posted Jul 10, 2017, 4:04 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite


On June 20th we had the privilege to hear Bro. Jonathan Prestage, 32°, General Secretary of the Scottish Rite Valley of Oakland presenting his paper “The Art of Intention – A tool to aid the Mason’s search for Inner Light”.  Brother Jonathan speech opens the door to new directions in studying the power of the Mind and how to use it in our continuous quest for improvement.  It was a very interesting and full of “food for thought” ideas in a presentation not to be missed.

Great Night of Instruction! Now, let’s have some fun and relax with the sound of music.

The Chapter of Rose Croix invites all of you, family members and friends included, to a Afternoon of Classical Music where we will be talking with and listening to Theodora Martin, a recent graduate from Berkeley.  Her presentation will discuss and illustrate, at the piano, two different classical composers and their artistic approach.

It’s “Liszt versus Brahms” or ‘Two Types of Virtuosity’ and Theodora will take us all for a stroll through the complicated pages of musical scoring that, in the end, will prove to be less complicated and full of surprises and joy.  And she promises to “deconstruct” the big composers and their scores and to answer our questions, to explain all in plain language and to make us and the kids feel like we know everything about classical music.  That should be really fun.

Come in on Sunday, July 9th and let’s enjoy this special opportunity.  The show will start at 2:30 pm, it’s only $10 and of course, kids are free.  We are going to have refreshments after that and have the pleasure to ask more questions and get to know Theodora better. See you all on Sunday the 9th!

Ion Vasilescu

Wise Master

From the Venerable Master (June, 2017)

posted Jul 2, 2017, 8:48 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

My Brothers…..


In our second degree we have a fantastic lecture; which we have come to call the carpet lecture.  In this we learn about the intelligence given to mankind and his ability to use it to further our use of this earth and to increase our survival through learning to build; structurally and mentally. 

     We, mankind, began to add beauty to our edifices without disturbing the strength.  This gives rise to the idea that we are capable of creation through our meditative contact with the Great Artificer of The Universe.

     In the Masters lecture we learn that the ruthless hands of ignorance and the devastation of war have, and will always be capable, of destroying our valuable monuments of antiquity.

     In the esoteric sense of our work there is a nobler and glorious use for this knowledge:  We are to always be working on ways to improve the use of our minds; to add beauty without yielding strength and maintain a high standard for our personal education and philosophy.  We have to be able to connect all of our actions and thoughts; as the geometer is able to connect how, and why, all things move and work.

     In the same respect we are capable of laying waste and destroying all things if we are ignorant, intolerant, and un-unified in our efforts to be of service to our brothers and mankind.  We must be capable of showing mankind that we, as Masons, strive to meet these noble goals.

     As promised two months ago I will keep you updated on our upcoming comedy show.  We will start selling tickets in late June or early July for the Sunday August 27 dinner and comedy show;  Staring Michael Mancini, Americas funniest cop.  Angela and I will work out the details for our dinner.  Perhaps we can convince the Knights of Saint Andrew to do a BBQ at this event.  The notice for this show will go out to local lodges and local police as well.


Martin Maxey

Venerable Master


"Celebrating the Craft" - An Event for all Brothers and Families

posted May 10, 2016, 10:54 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 10, 2016, 10:58 PM ]

If you haven't already done so, put May 21 on your calendar -- and put a red circle around it! That is the day of the Annual "Celebrating the Craft" Webcast from the House of the Temple. This 6 hours telethon is now in its 4th year and keeps getting more popular. And this year, San Jose Scottish Rite will be part of the party! We will be showing the whole 6 hours on a large screen in our downstairs conference room, complete with comfortable chairs, munchies, and drinks -- maybe even hot dogs & burgers. The event runs from 3 pm - 9 pm, and will include numerous musical and variety acts, never before filmed rooms and areas of the House of the Temple, interviews with celebrities and much more. Come for an hour or the whole event. Bring the family, enjoy time with your Brothers, and support our famed and glorious Temple!

Read more about the Annual "Celebrating the Craft" on the Scottish Rite Website

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