From The East

Dear Brethren,

As we start our new Masonic year, it seems a particularly good time to reflect on the meaning of being our Brother’s keeper. I often turn to the writings of Most Worshipful John L. Cooper III,
P.G.M. for insight and reflection. A great gift was given to us all by Very Worshipful Allan L. Casalou who collected and edited many of Most Worshipful Cooper’s published writings in “The
Questing Mind Is A Salient Characteristic of a Freemason”. I recommend you purchase a copy of this collection and keep it by your reading chair or bedside.

Most Worshipful Cooper tackled the meaning of the question “am I my Brother’s keeper?” for us in his July 2014 article in California Freemason, to be found in the above cited collection. In tackling the question we are all called to answer of “how far am I to go in taking care of my Brother?” And there is a corollary question. Is taking care of my Brother my task or my reward? MW Cooper quoted from Carl Claudy’s work “Old Tiler Talks” written in 1923:

“A burden is, after all, what we think of it. You would look desperately at the task of carrying a 200-pound sack on your back. But if it were 200 pounds of gold, and it was to be yours
after a mile, you wouldn’t find it “too heavy”.

And were does a successful man and Mason find gold? In his heart. Masonry, and the Brotherly love I continually receive from you is golden. Brotherly love is
ubiquitous within Peninsula Lodge. It is palpable in our Lodge where harmony reigns. I affiliated just over a year ago, and today am honored to have been installed as Worshipful
Master for 2020. You have welcomed me so warmly, and given me unending support, continual help and Brotherly affection. Thank you. You inspire me.

We are growing. We gain strength each passing month and in every respect as a Lodge. We are growing in members with six new Masons last year and we start 2020 with more knocking at our door. We must be mindful as we initiate, pass and raise new members that we continue our dedication to harmony and affection. I believe this to be our great strength as a Lodge. I believe it is why our participation is so strong.

A theme I mentioned at our Installation Ceremonies is while we need to mindfully welcome and orient our new members, we must not in any way neglect our engagement with our dedicated Past Masters and long-time members who have built our Lodge. They have so much to teach and give to those of us who are new and early in our travels.

I pledge to give my very best efforts in the coming year. When I slip up, please give me your good counsel. I have found more “Masonic gold” at Peninsula 168 than anywhere else my Masonic travels have taken me. Our labors will soon resume. Together, may we make 2020 the best Masonic year for every one of us.

Fraternally yours,
Dennis Mahoney P.M.

From The West

Brethren,

Thank you for electing me as your Senior Warden. I look forward to the new year and my new responsibilities and I will do my best to live up to the high expectations set by the long line of my predecessors.

I hope everybody had a wonderful holiday and ready to go back to work and start the new year. But not so fast, according to old traditions, Christmas is not over until January 6 – don’t forget the “twelve days of Christmas”.

The twelve days are starting with Christmas Day, and ending the day before Epiphany, also called the Feast of the Epiphany. In 567, the Council of Tours proclaimed the twelve days from Christmas to
Epiphany as a sacred and festive season and established the duty of Advent fasting in preparation for the feast.

In medieval England, the Twelfth Night came to signal the end of Christmastide, with the beginning of the new but related season of Epiphanytide. A popular Twelfth Night tradition was to have parties that would include the singing of Christmas carols, as well as feasting.

Food and drink were the center of the celebrations and go back many centuries. The punch called wassail is consumed, especially on Twelfth Night.

Special pastries, such as the king cake, are baked on Twelfth Night, and eaten the following day for the Feast of the Epiphany. There is a tradition that an edible decoration would be the last part of Christmas to be removed on the Twelfth Night and shared amongst the family.

In colonial America, a Christmas wreath was always left up on the front door of each home, and when taken down at the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, any edible portions would be consumed with the other foods of the feast. The same held true with fruits adorning Christmas trees. Fresh fruits were hard to come by and were considered fine and proper gifts and decorations for the tree, wreaths, and home. The tree would be taken down on Twelfth Night, and decorations such as fruits and nuts, would then be consumed.

With the Christmas and New Year celebrations over, I wish everybody a great and prosperous New Year.

Sincerely and Fraternally
Hjalmar Nilsen

From The South