From the Venerable Master (February 2024)
It is with great honor and pride that I serve you as Venerable Master for the ensuing Masonic year. I thank all the Brethren for their vote of confidence, and I want to thank the Venerable Masters who proceeded me for all their hard work. My Brothers, all our bodies need your help. I encourage all the brethren who read the Rite Word to participate in all our activities and ceremonies. This month we have the honor to host our Sweethearts Night, where we recognize the special ladies in our life. In March we will celebrate Maundy Thursday.
In July, we will have an Agape Dinner honoring our Grand Master, The Most Worshipful Sean Metroka. In November we honor our Military, under the guidance of Illustrious Charles Cowden 33rd Deg. There are more dates and events throughout the year, so put these dates on your calendar and plan to attend these activities. Call and make reservations for Dinner for all our Stated Meetings. It is always fun to break bread together and visit with each other.
These next comments are taken from a book called Masonry Defined: Does Masonry mean anything to you, or are you just a member? Some Masons seem to take pride in saying "Oh, Yes, I belong to the order, but have not been in a lodge room in years." Of what benefit is Masonry to this man, and what earthly benefit is he to Masonry? He might say "I have lost my Interest in in Masonry." He never had any real interest to lose. All he has lost is his curiosity. The Mason who pays his dues because he is ashamed not to, is simply throwing his money away.
Taking the secret work and learning the ritual does not make a Mason, any more than learning it’s A B C'S makes a child a scholar.
How many Masons understand the beautiful lesson of the Third Degree? If this lesson was learned and understood and practiced, Masonry would be on a higher plane than it is today. There would be more real Masons and fewer "members".
Freemasonry is the science and Art of right living. The science is concerned in the discovery of these principles that make upright moral conduct. The Art is living those principles in your daily life. See you all at our Stated Meetings and special events.
May you always have Love to Share, health to spare, and Friends who care. May you be blessed.
San Jose Lodge of Perfection Art Pasquinelli, 32° KCCH 2024 Venerable Master
From the Wise Master
I am excited and honored to be back in the East as the Wise Master of the Chapter Rose Croix. I have some big shoes to fill, those being of Brother Tim Lynch who led the Chapter in a very successful year, especially considering his double duty as Chief Knight. I would like to thank him for the great job and hope I can follow him with as much success.
In reading his article last month, I was reflecting on his theme of how to reach our members and increase participation. I would suggest that each of us became a Mason, and a Scottish Rite Mason for a specific reason, or even in some cases, several reasons. Additionally, in past articles I have talked about the basic tenets of Masonry, being Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. I usually describe or perhaps interpret these, in what I think is a more modern context, one I feel that of more relevance and resonance with our modern brothers.
In this more contemporary context, I describe them as Brotherly Love - the desire to be with other men, to experience fellowship, to learn and discuss the contemporary events of our Great Society, to dine and spend time together learning from and contributing to each other. Relief - the desire that comes from recognizing how great our society contributes to our lives each day and the drive to put something back. How to contribute to something that has given each of us so much, each day. We often take this for granted, especially when you think of the issues in the world today, how many people live in war & poverty and at the same time, how each of us lives each day here in the United States. And finally, of course, Truth – The desire to seek understanding in how our world and lives exist, to know the Great Architect and how we exist on this plane. This, in combination with our rich history of our ritual that exemplifies how Masonry is constructed, our history and the opportunity it provides us in performing or watching it, to reflect on who we are as individuals as well as our place in the universe.
I would like to suggest that in looking for ways to connect with brothers and their time in our Valley, that we find a way to provide opportunities to experience these tenets in a modern fashion. For example, our BBQs and Social dinners are wonderful times together, we often see a lot of the same faces, and these are opportunities to spend time with our brothers and their families. Perhaps if each of us that does attend could reach out to a brother and his family, we could provide them the opportunity to experience these functions. If you are a brother read- ing Rite Word, and haven’t been to a dinner in a while, perhaps now is the time to try one. With Relief, there are many opportunities to put something back. Many of our brothers spent a lot of time and did a wonderful job updating our building, our amenities and our business practices. Perhaps there are opportunities to help with future projects. There is our Language Clinic, have you ever thought about how we can more directly help them there? Is there something they need, is there a service we could provide or perform for them, is there room in your budget for a donation? And as for Truth, each year, we have at least one Reunion and usually two. These are wonderful moments to spend some time for yourself and be there for the degrees or
These opportunities are tempered by our understanding and use of the 24 each gauge. There isn’t any point in doing anything if you can’t give it the time in the context of everything else your life requires
Lastly, I think more than anything, it is about being involved to the extent that we can in our lives, to participate rather than just go though the motions. This is what made and continues to make Masonry. Bodies that thrive, do so on participation. How can you help - your brothers, your fellow man, society in general, your family and yourself? There are opportunities here, we just have to see them. I often tell our Entered Apprentices, to ask themselves, ‘What do you want out of the Masonry – what do you want to learn about or change within yourself?’ and ‘What can you put into Masonry – how can you help’. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses, the challenge is to find each of them within ourselves and act upon them. Societies are made of people. Their success is often measured on these two questions as tempered by how much we participate.
I am looking forward to a great year in our Valley. I would like to remind all, that our
Maundy Thursday this year is on Tuesday March 28th. Make plans to attend, this is your opportunity to participate.
San Jose Chapter of Rose Croix Mark Burger, 32° KCCH 2024 Wise Master
From the Commander of Kadosh (February 2024)
The nineteenth degree, titled Grand Pontiff, was among the earliest to come to North America. It was modernized by Albert Pike, who transformed it from being exclusively Christian, to a universal message more befitting Freemasonry. Without upsetting the original symbols, he expanded on them.
Pike’s knowledge of the Bible and Kabbalah allowed him to open the symbolism, which comes from the Book of Revelation, to a more broad-reaching and meaningful explanation.
The teachings of the degree, as one expects from Masonry, concern practical morality. Its mystical symbols, however, interpreted Kabbalistically, invite us to contemplate divinity, the nature of the Great Architect, and man’s role in the world. For both, we can thank Pike. His contributions include, among much else, the symbol of the Urim and Thummim – the breastplate of the Israelite high priest. Though alluded to in Revelation, it was noticeably absent from the original details of the early degree.
In Pike’s lecture, he mentions the Zohar, a central text of Kabbalah, as a useful guide for understanding the symbolism. In Kabbalah, Creation does not just happen, it’s an ongoing act that needs to be sustained. Providence flowing downward, and the return of prayers and good deeds upward, preserve the world. If this cycle is interrupted, existence will cease. This stream of divine energy is conducted along a symbolic structure known as the Tree of Life. In the Zohar, the Urim and Thummim represent two parts of this Tree, named Tiferet and Malkhut. These are sometimes styled as Bride and Groom.
In Kabbalah, the interaction between Tiferet, the celestial Groom, and Malkhut, the Bride, is no casual tryst. Its consequences are nothing less than the fate of Heaven and Earth. For Creation to succeed, the divine union must be consummated. Nothing can be allowed to interfere with it. Sin and evil threaten at every turn to distract mankind from his role in the preservation of the world. However, by following the example and instructions of the Great Architect, man receives and repairs the divine flow and aids in the harmonious conduct of the world. In Kabbalah, divinity itself must reconcile intersecting considerations, mixing them in the perfect balance to reflect Glory upon His Kingdom. This is an example for us to follow. Let our own presence in the world reflect mercy, strength, and justice, and let it be illuminated by the luster of our inner beauty.
San Jose Council of Kadosh Peter Cardilla, 32° 2024 Commander of Kadosh
From the Master of Kadosh (February 2024)
Greetings, Scottish Rite Brethren.
Thank you for electing me and my officers to serve you in the Consistory for this next year.
We have a fine crew: Bro. Helmuth Litfin, 32° (Master of Kadosh); Bro. Eddie Hermano, 32° (Prior); Hon. Brandon Dueñas, 32° (Preceptor); Hon. Naresh Rampershad, 32° KCCH (Marshal of Ceremonies); and Bro. Allen Diamond, 32° (Captain of the Guard).
I find myself as Master of Kadosh one year earlier than expected due to the untimely death of Hon. Wolfgang Lochner, 32° KCCH, which moved most of the officers up a notch. I hope to do as well this year as my predecessors have, with a special thanks to Illustrious Richard Fisher, 33°, for his guidance.
For events for the coming year, I plan on at least two Consistory BBQ’s (one in late April and another in early October), plus a couple of group trips, one of which is to the Hiller Aviation Museum on July 20th (the 55th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing back in 1969). The Museum’s calendar does not show past June for scheduling, so this is tentative (watch this space).
The February 13th stated meeting and dinner is on Shrove Tuesday (confession and absolution); some like to celebrate it as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), so look forward to seriously good food that evening. Being so close to Valentine’s day, it is also our Ladies Night. See Illustrious Richard Fisher’s article from February 2023 for some history on Saint Valentine (I won’t repeat it here).
See you at the meeting and dinner!
San Jose Consistory Helmuth Litfin, 32° 2024 Venerable Master of Kadosh
From the Chief Knight (February 2024)
Greetings and happy 2024. As we kicked off the year in the middle of installation season, the KSA continued flag presentations and provided an 8 man Arch of Steel for Golden Rule Lodge 479, crossing swords for the newly installed officers and their families during the evening’s ceremonies.
We have already started receiving requests to pro- vide these kinds of presentations at other events this year. We’re looking forward to continued work at this year’s reunions, as well as looking forward to another great time at the 158th Highland Gathering and Games.
If there are any members that are interested in get- ting more involved in our valley and having a little more fun, here’s another opportunity. For more information, just ask one of the Sir Knights, or join us at a meeting. We normally meet 3rd Sundays at Noon. No kilt required.
Big thanks to the chapter for giving me the opportunity to serve as Chief Knight this year, and a bigger thank you to those that agreed to serve as officers.
The Knights of Saint Andrew 2024 Officers
Bro. Chris Boyes 32º
Bro. Mike Lammer 32º
Knight of the Watch
Bro. Alan Porjesz 32º
Bro. Tim Lynch 32º
Bro. Adrian Otero 32º
Bro. Angelo Encarnacion 32º
San Jose Knights of St. Andrew Michael Lammer, 32° 2024 Chief Knight, KSA