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From the Scottish Rite Officers - April 2023

From the Venerable Master (April 2023)

Yes! Believe it we are already in the month of April, and it marks the arrival of spring, the temperatures begin to warm up, the trees and flowers begin to bloom, creating a colorful and vibrant atmosphere. In many parts of the world, April is associated with Easter, a holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The month of April also brings a sense of renewal and hope as people start to emerge from the long winter months and look forward to the promise of summer. It's a time of new beginnings, both in nature and in people's lives, making it a special and exciting month for many.

Why Freemasons Wear Black and White

This has been the custom for over a hundred years. In the 1700's freemasons did not wear black and white. In an old masonic catechism of that time there is a question asking about the Master's clothing “yellow jacket and blue breeches" forms part of the answer. This was an allusion to the colors of a pair of compasses and a square, perhaps. There is a painting showing the Scottish poet Robert Burns in Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, Edinburgh (Scotland) on his appointment as lodge poet laureate - members of the lodge wear variously colored coats, breeches, and stockings, not black and white. This event was supposedly on 1 March 1787; the painting (by Brother Stewart Watson) was produced in 1846. Blue and Gold were certainly recognized as the official colors of freemasonry in the 1720's - nowadays these colors are used as the edging on aprons of Grand Lodge Officers and on their collars; private lodge officers use light blue collars and have light blue trimmings on their aprons.

A quick Internet search on the history of men's formal wear yielded two useful sites:

From site (1) it seems that black formal wear was invented by an English writer. The idea of wearing black for evening wear was, according to the English clothing historian James Laver, first introduced by the nineteenth-century British writer Edward Bulwer-Lytton, who utilized it "as a romantic gesture to show that he was a `blighted being' and very, very melancholy. " And it was Bulwer-Lytton who gave further impetus to this notion of black as the color for formal wear by writing, in 1828, that "people must be very distinguished to look well in black." Naturally, the moment this statement was noted by would-be dandies, the style became decidedly de rigueur...or "cool" in modern parlance.

This was probably a reaction to the sartorial excesses of men during the time of the English Prince Regent (later Brother King George IV) when dandies such as Beau Brummell wore more splendid apparel than females.

The original dinner jacket was "invented" by Brother King Edward VII when Prince of Wales. He was also the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England in the last quarter of the 19th Century. He certainly made the dinner jacket fashionable, and no doubt this is why most freemasons wear dinner jackets (some WMs and Grand Lodge folk wear white tie and tails).

From site (2) - the tuxedo was "invented" by Pierre Lorillard IV, a wealthy man of Tuxedo Park in New York State, in 1896. His son and friends wore their first tuxedos to a white tie and tails ball. The cummerbund and bow tie (popular with many freemasons) were later additions to the "tux" outfit.

In the more tropical parts, masons wear white mess jackets rather than the somber dinner jacket or tuxedo or tailcoat. Members of daylight lodges here wear day clothes such as a business suit or perhaps a formal sports jacket.

Frequent attenders at the lodge take their freemasonry seriously, and wearing formal clothes perhaps helps to set the mood. Furthermore, the "uniform" of black-and-white might mean that we pay more attention to the man than his clothes - the reverse might occur if we wore catwalk "gear" to lodge!

In many parts of the world, at least a portion of the lodge floor is black and white. As to how long these checkered or black-and-white mosaic pavements have existed in lodge, maybe someone else can answer that question. I would suspect that these pavements became fashionable in permanent lodge rooms when chalk marks on the floor or floor coverings were no longer required to be laid out by Tyler in temporary accommodation such as taverns and hostelries. Some lodges meet in temporary accommodation such as clubs, so the rolled up masonic carpet is making a comeback. Such carpets are mainly comprised of black and white squares arranged in a mosaic pattern.

San Jose Lodge of Perfection Naresh Rampershad, 32° 2022-2023 Venerable Master

From the Wise Master (April 2023)

April brings with it the time of Maundy Thursday (officially April 6, also known as Holy Thursday) and Easter (April 9). While our Craft has people from all walks of life and faith practices, one thing we have in common is the need to remind ourselves that we walk this imperfect world together with our family and friends. This season gives us another chance to really enjoy time with those friends and family while remembering the good things that come from building that strong core at home. As a dad, I have great memories of my kids chasing after hidden Easter eggs, hard boiled and/or candy filled, in the yard and house. Watching them explore and try to find the special eggs with a prize selected just for them was great. What filled my heart though was watching them help each other look for the hardest ones together and discuss a plan of how to figure out the puzzles that were set out for them, even while competing to be first to finish. In this small place they practiced civility and good sportsmanship. They practiced good logic, rhetoric, and of course some sibling rivalry. While in this season, perhaps while reflecting on our faith-based activities, we should take a few minutes to really enjoy what we have and how we have improved our surrounding by passing on our knowledge to our friends and family.

San Jose Chapter of Rose Croix Timothy M. Lynch II, 32° 2022-2023 Wise Master

From the Commander of Kadosh (April 2023)

MAUNDY THURSDAY The Feast Day of the Chapter of Rose Croix is traditionally commemorated every Maundy Thursday and then continued on Easter Sunday. In the earlier 18° ritual and corresponding ordinances, these two days were considered indispensable meeting days of the Chapter, as mandated by the Statutes of the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction (SJ), USA. The Knights of the Chapter were charged to observe them as a Feast Obligatory and with a gathering called the Mystic Banquet. Even if a Knight found himself elsewhere alone, he was still instructed to commemorate the Feast Obligatory on Maundy Thursday, with or without his brethren. If, for instance, he was traveling and happened to meet another fellow Knight of the Chapter, both were obliged to go to a convenient place together in order to perform the duty of observing the Feast. Also, if two Knights happened to live within twenty miles of each other, both were likewise required to meet each other on Maundy Thursday to celebrate the Mystic Banquet. The traditional origin of the Feast Day can be traced to the Last Supper of Christ during the Jewish Feast of the Passover, as memorialized by modern-day Christians every Maundy Thursday. The name “maundy” was said to have been derived from the Latin word “mandum,” meaning mandate or commandment. It was during the Last Supper when Christ, as he broke bread with his disciples, gave them his mandatum novum or new commandment, i.e. for them to love one another (John 13:34). This concept of love or “agape,” which sometimes translates to the concept of charity and brotherhood, is one of the central teachings of the 18° Knight Rose Croix, which is why the Chapter had adopted Maundy Thursday as its annual Feast Day. It should be noted, however, that the Feast Day is not the religious commemoration of the Passover, though both recognize the same history and use the same articles. Similarly, the Feast Day is not an equivalent of the Christian Holy Mass, or of its sacrament of Holy Communion, or of its observance of Holy Thursday, though both observances happen to share the same themes and tradition. Historically, the earliest written record of the observance of the Feast Day can be found in an early 18° ritual prepared and published by Charles de Ladebat in 1856 in New Orleans. Ladebat was a Sovereign Grand Inspector General and Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Louisiana, who, after the 1855 Concordat, transferred membership to the Supreme Council SJ. It was entirely possible that Ladebat adopted an older version of the Maundy Thursday ceremony from the Supreme Council of Louisiana, but no records exist to make such a conclusion. In 1866, Maundy Thursday found its way listed as a Feast Day in the Code of Statutes of the SJ. Then as of 1878, the Statutes indicated its observance as obligatory. It wasn’t until 1994 when the SJ deemed it more appropriate to conduct the Feast Day as a single, public, non-obligatory ceremony held near the Vernal Equinox or March 21 of each year. Note, however, that in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction (NMJ), Maundy Thursday is still observed and is colloquially known thereat as the Feast of the Paschal Lamb. Source: “The Feast Day of the Chapter of Rose Croix,” The Far Eastern Freemason magazine (2nd Quarter Issue, June 2017).

San Jose Council of Kadosh David M. Kampschafer, 32° 2022-2023 Commander of Kadosh

From the Master of Kadosh (April 2023)

Ritual. To many it brings to mind having someone pass on a proficiency. Ritual, however, is not limited to lodge work. It is believed to have been part of humanity from the beginning. Ritual has been defined as a repeatable pattern of behavior done at specific times. In other words, ritual is any action that is repeated. It is believed that ritual and intelligence evolved together. It may also have played a role in how society came into being by transmitting cultural knowledge. Ritual aligns behavior, creating shared experiences and forges a common identity into a cohesive community. A recent example was during the Superbowl when the kicker missed a 3 point attempt followed by a great sigh from the audience. There are three types of ritual: a mythological reenactment or long stand religious ritual that reenacts a sacred story; rite of passage; family ritual. An example of a religious ritual is the commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter. Another is the Hebrew reenactment of the Passover Seder. A rite of passage ritual can be a quinceañeras, turning 21, graduation or marriage. Family rituals are more relaxed than religious or rite of passage. These rituals can include gatherings for Thanksgiving, Christmas or a traditional annual vacation to a special place. Ritual may also play a part in subconsciously improving performance. Unlike habits which are often mindless, rituals ae generally mindful, actions carried out for a specific purpose. Many professional athletes have their rituals such as wearing the same pair of socks throughout a tournament. An experiment was made with golfers. Some were given a “lucky ball”, some not. Those with the “lucky balls” performed better than those players given an ordinary ball. It was believed having the “lucky ball” enhanced the player’s confidence in their abilities and motivated greater effort. Some research has shown that rituals can have a causal impact on thought, feelings and behavior. This effect may be why our Fraternity’s rituals, developed over hundreds of years, have been able to instill high moral values by belonging to a group of like-minded Brethren.

San Jose Consistory Richard M. Fisher, III, 33° 2022-2023 Venerable Master of Kadosh

From the Chief Knight (April 2023)

Our chapter is in a great place with plans of growing to help provide more service to the Valley. All 32nd degree Brothers are encouraged to come visit the KSA on the 3rd Sunday at the SJSR Center downstairs conference room. Our business meeting will be closed to KSA only but that is only a short time starting at noon. The social time following is where we have fun. While planning activities for the Highland Games (happening on Labor Day weekend, September 2 & 3), we have been working with Chapters in other Valley’s to make a grand time of it. The Games are hosted by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco with terrific shopping, music, and fun for the family. In other outreach, our own Past Chief Knight David Kampschafer recently visited Santa Rosa to Accolade several new members into the newly commissioned Chapter as well as install the officers for the Chapter. KSA is a service based organization that helps support activities throughout the Valley. Most of our work is done while we are at the monthly stated meetings which keeps the load light while helping things run smoother. During important visits, KSA provides an Arch of Steel salute to dignitaries as well as providing a Flag Presentation team. The Flag Presentation team is also often called upon for blue lodge installations. No kilt is needed and we have a cooler hat than the other bodies J. Come out and see what we are about.

San Jose Knights of St. Andrew Timothy M. Lynch II, 32° 2022-2023 Chief Knight, KSA

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