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 (July 2020)

posted Jul 7, 2020, 1:44 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite


I hope you all and your families are well.

July gives us Independence Day. A day that changed history and created this country. It influenced other countries. It changed the mind of people to understand that systems, specifically those that deprive the people from the fundamentals to survive, or that are despotism and tyranny can be changed.

Freemasons have been involved in this. The Boston Tea Party, General and later President George Washington, Paul Revere, Marquis de Lafayette and other Brethren played a major role in forming this country into a democracy. They did so as individuals. Other Freemasons that actively participated in and were driving revolutions include Simon Bolivar in South America and Mirabeau in France.

Rulers that care about the people have been Freemasons. Examples are the Royal Family of the United Kingdom, the Swedish Kings that have been Grandmasters of the Swedish Rite since its founding, and King Frederic the Great of Prussia who per Masonic tradition approved the Grand Constitutions of 1876 that are the basis of our Constitution of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction.

As Freemasons we are asked to support the local government. We are also asked to support Freedom, and practice Charity. A fine line, but it comes down to recognize and address despotism and tyranny, and change systems that deprive the people from necessary sustenance.

In my opinion it is about balance, equilibrium. A system that abuses its power ultimately will fail, and I would hope that in future Freemasons will not end up on the sidelines, but as individuals will continue to help to correct removal of Freedom, and support the society and needing individuals with Charity.

For further information on this topic, as a starting point: List_of_monarchs_who_were_Freemasons

We will miss our parades, with all the gathering before, during and after. I hope you all will have an opportunity though to gather electronically with your family and friends.


Happy Independence Day,


From the Wise Master (July 2020)

posted Jul 7, 2020, 1:43 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Well my Brethren, by the time you read this article, the June activities for Scottish Rite will have still been put on hold. I hope July will have a better outcome. July 14th Stated Meeting and Dinner. I am looking forward to this meeting.

Last year I heard a poem in my Lodge that I would like to share with all my Brethren.

Hail, Masonry, Thou Craft Divine. By C. Delafaye

Hail, Masonry, thou craft divine, Glory of earth, from Heaven revealed, Which dost with jewels precious shine, From all but Masons' eyes concealed. Thy praises due who can rehearse, In nervous prose or glowing verse?

As men from brutes distinguished are, A Masons other men excels; For what's in knowledge choice and rare, But in his breast securely dwells? His silent breast and faithful heart Preserves the secret of the art.

Sweet fellowship, from envy free, Friendly converse of brotherhood, The lodge's lasting cement be, Which has for ages firmly stood. A lodge thus built, for ages past Has lasted, and will ever last.

Then in our songs be justice done To those who have enriched the art; From Jabal down to every one, And let each brother hear a part. Let noble Masons' healths go round, Their praise in lofty lodge resound.

May you always have Love to share, Health to spare, And friends who care. May you blessed.


From the Commander of Kadosh (July 2020)

posted Jul 7, 2020, 1:41 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

In May 1858, Brother Jose Ignacio Herrera y Cairo was murdered by his political and military enemies in Mexico. Two of the ranking officers involved were later hanged.  Brother Cairo became a national hero and military units and streets were name in his honor in the Jalisco area.


Earlier, Brother Cairo was concerned he might be murdered and asked his friends, should that happen, that he would like to be buried in a Masonic Cemetery.  His body was buried in a local cemetery but his heart was removed and preserved as a relic.  In April 1893 it was taken from Mexico and placed in the Oakland Masonic Temple by his sister, Rosalia Labastida de Coney.  A ceremony was held at that time and “addresses and other interesting matters presented”.


Brother Cairo’s heart was buried, with a grand ceremony, in Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland on June 23, 1894.  The copper casket containing his heart, draped with the Mexican flag, was escorted by four Knights Rose Croix from Gethsemane Chapter, Rose Croix, Oakland.  It was placed under a monument, the foundation stone of which was laid by Past Grand Master of Masons of California, Most Worshipful Hiram N. Rucker. Ill. Brother Edwin Sherman, 33rd degree, delivered a eulogy critical of the Catholic Church in the murder of Brother Cairo.


Rosalia was the wife of Consul General of Mexico, Brother Alexander Coney, 32nd degree.  A few years later, in 1897, Rosalia passed away and was interred in the same plot as her brother and, later Brother Sherman.  A large number of Masons turned out for her burial and each placed a red rose on her grave.


Next month, more about Brother Coney


From the Master of Kadosh (July 2020)

posted Jul 7, 2020, 1:39 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

After missing several of the last inputs to the SJ SR Rite Word, I am happy to report that I am back in action again after completing my move further north in California and I wan to thank Hon. Gregg Hall and Angela Athens for covering the last two articles for me.

I did not expect this move to happen but when an opportunity such as this arose, I had to make a quick decision or lose it.  This was a move that should not be taken lightly by anyone—but I felt that if I could keep my current memberships and friends and add new ones it could be manageable.

Well, I have got to tell you—It’s a different world living up here in the Sierra foothills.  The roads and cars are similar as below and overall traffic is “not” a problem, the main highways are faster and there are “no” speed limits.  Oh! The posted speed signs are there, but nobody obeys them.  Everyone just goes as fast as they can.  The secondary roads are not so good and any drivers of cars in back will ride you rear bumper just waiting for a chance to pass you so they can be first in line then they all continue at their original speed; there are lots of aggressive drivers up here in the north and in the Sierras.

The weather is also different—hotter in the summer and colder in the winter.  One doesn’t realize how ideal the weather is in the Bay Area even considering the latest commute traffic.  Im glad that I will still attend all my regular masonic functions as soon as this “Corona” virus abates.

I plan to drive down when cars in the Bay Area are leaving and staying overnight for one or two days if there is an available room—then return back.  I really do miss my friends and functions.


To be continued…..


From the Venerable Master (June 2020)

posted Jun 3, 2020, 7:18 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite


I hope you all and your families are well.

June seems to be an interesting month when it comes to the “lesser” holidays. An astounding 84 holidays in 30 days:

National Olive Day (June 1st)

National Egg Day (June 3rd)

National Cider Day (June 3rd)

National Cheese Day (June 4th)

And the list goes on with mostly food and entertainment celebration days.

During the shelter in place time, we may have re-appreciated cooking and eating at home. I certainly did, and after a few weeks I started dusting off those cooking books that I had not used for some time as I was stuck between eating out and cooking just my favorites at home. Creativity came back, and this may be the month to get even more inspiration what to cook, maybe some pork braised in cider, a cheesy omelet, or a Spanish inspired tapas plate with olives.

I talked to some friends, and they are setting up dinner on changing tables, making it more of a dining experience than just dinner. I tried it out myself, and will continue doing it, as it is a nice change in atmosphere.

I experience the same when working from home. When things get tiring, I change the scenery and work from the kitchen rather than living room, and feel inspired again.


Staying active, and avoiding the locked-in feeling as much as you can is important. We all can make this tolerable, and gain back things we were not able to do in our busy lives.

At the time of this writing, all hopes are still up for the shelter to be carefully lifted. I am awaiting the next milestone of this COVID-19 end of May, and the news what everyone as an individual, businesses, and we as Masons are allowed to do.

In the meantime, we will all “hang in there”, literally.

Happy Food-Month of June,


From the Wise Master (June 2020)

posted Jun 3, 2020, 7:16 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Well, May found us still sheltered in place. All Masonic activities still on hold. The Grand Master of California Masons will let us know when we can resume Masonic meetings and Dinner functions.

The June Stated Meeting and Dinner on the 9th are still not know. Hopefully it can go forward.

I ran across an Article titled "Home"

A word that today takes on a whole new meaning. In these troubled times, home can be so much more than a physical space.

Home is our workplace, our daycare, our school, our gym.

But above all things, home is a shelter. A place where we can retreat to, where we are protected, shielded, secure from the outside world.

A place where we can be our realest selves. And while these days it can be difficult to feel confined, remember what home is.

A sanctuary. A haven. A place where we will weather a storm that,  like many others, also shall pass.

I am going to end all my remaining articles for 2020 with this phrase.

May you always have love to share, health to spare, and Friends who care, May you be blessed.


From the Commander of Kadosh (June 2020)

posted Jun 3, 2020, 7:14 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Last month I wrote the grave of Ill Edwin A. Sherman, 33rd Degree, Grand Cross in Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland held the heart of the Mexican Masonic martyr, Jose Ignacio Herrera y Cairo.  Brother Cairo was born in Mexico in 1826 and became a surgeon in 1845.  By 1856 he was the deputy governor of the Department of Jalisco.


During his short time in politics there were differences between his government and the military and clergy.  At one point he brought the prelates of the Franciscan, Dominican, Carmelite and other religious orders to the government palace and rebuked them for encouraging the enemies of the government.  The charges were denied.  During this time, he appointed a special lawyer to defend the Indians in land disputes.


His health caused him to leave the political arena.  He devoted himself to agriculture and provided free medical services in the towns surrounding his Hacienda de la Providencia


Unfortunately, his quiet life would soon take a tragic turn.  One of his enemies accused him of having weapons at the Hacienda.  A column of 500 soldiers was dispatched and took him prisoner on May 20, 1858.  Early the next morning one of the officers went to the local pharmacy, obtained chloroform, brought it back to the Hacienda and administered it to Cairo.  The drugged Cairo was taken to a tree in the main square, laid down and shot.


Sometime earlier, Cairo told his Masonic brothers that if he was ever murdered his heart should be preserved to show he had the heart of a man who died for his devotion to Masonic principles.


Cairo’s heart was removed as a relic and he was buried outside the parish church.  Shortly after Cairo’s death the local governor declared him a hero, gave his family a life time pension and two divisions of the Federal Army were named in his honor.


In 1893 his heart was taken to Oakland and kept in the Masonic Temple. Next month, more about the burial in Oakland.


From the Venerable Master (May 2020)

posted Apr 29, 2020, 5:53 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

We just passed through the time of Lent and Easter. Life may seem dark, but we are looking forward to resurrection of social life, and ascendance to better times.

Technology brings people, friends, brethren together in these difficult times. Google Hangouts, Skype, Webex, Zoom, they all have a way for us to see each other on a computer monitor, tablet or your phone, in either full or for private use a somewhat limited free form. We have had lodges conducting virtual meetings to approve the bills, and we had a few social hang-outs, trying to cheer up Brandon that holds the lonely station over at the Masonic Center, and kindly also here.

We will leverage technology more and more, and as we explore it for social and valley business usage, creativity for ”virtual” events will spark. If you need help getting you going on these technologies, please reach out to us.

“From the ice they are freed, the stream and brook,

By the Spring's enlivening, lovely look;

The valley's green with joys of hope.”


Brother Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Amalia Lodge, Weimar, Germany) wrote these lines back in 1808, while Europe was in turmoil in the Napoleonic wars, after the official dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. Let us all keep our hope, and help each others, as much as possible.

We all will learn from this current situation: Learn about how to use technology and be efficient in our ways of communication. Save time previously spent on commutes on the road, and use that time for recreation, or maybe to read up in the Master Craftsman Program.

While the future seems uncertain, we are looking forward to seeing you all, virtually, via technology, and fingers crossed, in person soon.


From the Wise Master (May 2020)

posted Apr 29, 2020, 5:51 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

As I sit at my desk pondering what to write for May's Rite Word, I find myself reflecting on April's Rite Word in which I requested your attendance for the Maundy Thursday celebration as well as the stated meeting on April 14. Unfortunately, as you now know, both events were cancelled due to the Covid-19 virus. So as I sit here, my thoughts and prayers turn to all my brethren, their families, and their loved ones.


We know that everyone is affected by this virus. Being "sheltered in place" is not fun. Working from home can be tiresome, you can only walk so many times a day, read so many books, watch so much tv, and so forth. But it is our responsibility to cooperate with those who have data and information on what causes this virus to be so devastating.


All Masonic functions are at a standstill. So, as we move forward, our next scheduled event is our stated meeting and dinner on May 12. My hope is that this virus will have subsided enough so that we can hold both functions as planned.


We will prevail over this virus in time, and my earnest hope is that none of our loves ones will have contracted this disease.


May you always have love to share, health to spare, and friends who care. May you be blessed.


From the Commander of Kadosh (May 2020)

posted Apr 29, 2020, 5:50 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

The 1996 history of the San Jose Scottish Rite Bodies included the name of Ill. Edwin A. Sherman, 33 rd Degree, Grand Cross.  During my travels for the State of California I also came across his grave in Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland.


The San Jose Scottish Rite Bodies started when Sovereign Grand Commander Albert Pike came to San Jose and communicated the degrees of the Lodge of Perfection to a class in 1883.  Brother Sherman came in 1885, as the special deputy of the Sovereign Grand Inspector General and organized the Albert G. MacKay Lodge of Perfection No. 13.


The inscription of Brother Sherman’s grave said he was the father of the Oakland Scottish Rite Bodies and had given 60 of service to the craft.  His connection to both the Oakland and San Jose Scottish Rite made me want to find out more about him.


He was born in Massachusetts and became a newspaper reporter in his early adult life.  With the prospect of a war with Mexico looming, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1845.  During the war he assisted in having an Army newspaper printed in a Mexican government printing office.  He was wounded during the war by the windage of a cannon-shot that passed between his knees.


In 1849, after the discovery of gold in California, he traveled to San Francisco.  After a number of business ventures and adventures he returned to Boston in 1854.  He came back to California in 1855 and became Sacramento County’s surveyor later moving to Nevada, in 1860, where he returned to journalism.


With the Civil War looming, he received a commission with the rank of Major in the California National Guard from then Governor Leland Stanford.  During the 1860s and 1870s he supervised a Nevada silver mine and, for a time, was town surveyor of Gold Hill, Nevada.


Brother Sherman moved to Oakland in 1883 and spent his remaining years as a mining expert, author and writer for San Francisco newspapers and magazines as well as a number of Masonic oriented books.  These books included: “50 years of Masonry in California” (1898); The Life of the late Rear Admiral John Drake Sloat” (1902); the “New Edition of the Brief History of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry” (1890).  The full text of these and several of his other writings can be read at Online Books.  Try Googling his full name with books at the end.  The link is Online Books.


One final note about Brother Sherman’s grave.  On one end of the stone tablet covering the grave is written: “under the foundation stone is deposited the heart of Dr. Ygnacia Herrera Y Cairo Ex-Gov. State of Jalisco, Mexico murdered May 21, 1858 a martyr to the cause of Freemasonry”.  This is a story for another issue of the Rite Word.



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