Monday, November 12, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort

On the morning of Saturday, November 10, Brothers Ben Kaminski, Eric Jacisin, and Tim Borowski departed Buffalo. The were followed shortly after by W:. Jim Mirusso of Living Stone Lodge with yet another vehicle. This small convoy was headed for the downstate New York area in vehicles laden down with much needed supplies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Thanks to their efforts, as well as organizational prowess of Brother John Budowski, two pickups and trailers, as well as a van, were loaded to capacity with clothing, diapers, cleanup supplies, nonperishable food, and numerous other necessities. The brothers that went brought back stories that I can only describe as humbling. I need not tell most of you of the dire situation in that area, and Bro. Kaminski informed me that things were even worse across the river. Nearly all of the supplies went to a relief center, with the remainder going to a brother in need that lost the first floor of his home to the flooding.

But don't take my word for it, Bro Jacisin sums it up better than I could ever hope to:

Imagine arriving at a collection site after dark with 50 cases of donated cereal from General Mills. We got help from NYPD to unload the cereal. By the time we parked the empty vehicles the cereal was moved into the production line and half was gone. Imagine bumping into a small little girl clutching a box of Luck Charms that you had just delivered. She was so happy to have her favorite cereal again even though she had NO milk and no home to go back to to eat it, but she had HER Lucky Charms DAMN IT!! It damn near brought me to my knees. We gave at least one person a glimmer of hope in that "crater." The street was filled with people because their home are all condemned and they have nowhere to go yet.

With that, I just wanted to thank EVERYONE that contributed, and there are so many of you. Special thanks go out to General Mills for their gracious donation of fifty cases of cereal, and V:. W:. John Allen of Tompkins Lodge #471 for opening his home to our brothers for the weekend.

That being said, if anyone is still looking to contribute, we are coordinating further relief efforts in conjunction with Mariners Lodge. We will be passing the hat at the upcoming communication. If anyone would like to contribute that will not be attending, please contact any officer of Harmonie, and we will see that your donations make it to those who need it most.

Monday, November 5, 2012

October 27th - Masonic Tour of Buffalo - Return to Forest Lawn Cemetery

What an amazing turn out, even in the rain and the cold. We had fifteen Brothers, visitors and our ladies at the tour. This was our second trip back to Forest Lawn and I feel out most successful. Bro. Chapin and I covered a wide range of Masonic history that took place in Erie County. Special thanks need to be given to Right Worshipful Peter Filim, a docent of Forest Lawn, in helping with the tour. He is a wonderful guide and helped us tell the story of Masonry in Forest Lawn. We should also thank Forest Lawn Cemetery for allowing us to visit and use this historic site to educate  the public about the rich masonic history found in Erie County and Buffalo New York. I very much hope to return in the future. Our plan for next year is to extend the tour back to Downtown Buffalo and show the Masonic sites that once stood and still stand in our amazing city. Check out the website as we have many pictures from the event and even a few videos.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Harmonie Hosts Debate Night - Standardized vs. Non-Standardized Ritual Work - October 24th


On the 24th our Senior Warden, Brother Ryan S. Bonnett squared off against W:. Nathan A. Shoff, Past Master of Harmonie, in the arena of civilized debate. We ran a debate night about three years ago where again W:. (than Brother) Shoff and I debated the Templar origins  of Freemasonry, pro and con. It was a well received program and the Brothers have been asking for another. On the 24th we hosted our Debate Night Standardized vs. Non-Standardized (For - Bro. Bonnett - Against W:. Shoff). It was a ripping debate and Harmonie was honored to host five visiting Brothers for Ken-Ton Lodge No. 1186. Both of our debating scholars had persuasive and well thought arguments. In the end though the Brothers voted and found W:. Shoff's argument the winner. Winner or loser, this is not the value of this debate, it was the amazing back and forth questions that really impressed me. It is not often that a whole Lodge is taking part in conversation, with the event we very much were. I cannot wait for our next debate. I am already working on the topics.

W:. D  

Visitation to Ancient Landmarks Lodge - 3rd Degree October 22nd of Masonry

Brothers from Left to Right - W:. Robert Tyler, Master of Ancient Landmarks Lodge No. 358, Brother David Storck, Lewis of W:. Michael Storck, W:. Michael Storck, Past Master Ancient Landmarks Lodge No. 358 - 2011, W:. Daniel J. Di Natale, Master of Harmonie Lodge No. 699 


On October 22nd the Master and Wardens of Harmonie Lodge No. 699 witnessed the raising of Bro. David Storck. This 3rd Degree was special in that Bro. David is the son of Worshipful Michael Storck, our very good friend. It was moving to see father raise son to the sublime Degree. I very much hope to be able to witness it in our Lodge, well as soon as our sons are ready (another 19 years or so!) 

From what the Brothers of Ancient Landmarks told us, this was the first time in memory that the Master and Wardens from a visiting Lodge came at once to witness a Degree. I can say that it was our honor and minus rank or station none of us would have missed it. As it is said "Harmony is the support of all institutions, especially this of ours."


Masonic Memorial Service at Elmlawn

Dear Brothers,
On October 20th, 2012 I had the distinct honor of holding a Graveside Masonic service held at the Masonic Section of Elmlawn Cemetery. This was not held for any specific Brother but a service to remember all those that have passed to the Grand Lodge Above and have been laid to rest at this location. If you have not visited this Masonic burial site you really need to take the time and visit. This is one of three major Masonic Graveyards in the Buffalo (Acacia Park and Forest Lawn are the others). This site is unique in that the Brothers whom designed this memorial built freestanding Lodge Room out of stone in the center of the site.

We took many pictures as this site is very poorly documented as part of our Masonic heritage. We will be expanding a section of the webpage to document the Masonic sites of Buffalo hopeful this will spur help in saving our history. Harmonie can't keep going it alone. Sadly, it is quickly showing its age and the stone is starting to crack. Elmlawn have done wonderful things to help keep up the Memorial but we as Masons need to start taking the time and helping too. These are our honored dead and they need to be shown dignity. We had ten Brothers out on this cold day to honor our dead. It was a very special ceremony to be part of.  

"Observing the Craft" W:. Andrew Hammer's Lectures at Enchanted Mountain Lodge

Image from Left to Right - Bro. Nick DeBergalis, S.W - R:.W:. Timothy Nolan - W:. Andrew Hammer - Bro. John Backhaus  

Panorama of the amazing Olean Masonic Temple Lodge Room 

Overhead of the Olean Masonic Temple 

What an amazing evening. On October 16th, the Brothers of Harmonie had the honor of escorting W:. Brother Andrew Hammer, our Lodge's 1st Patron, to Enchanted Lodge Mountain Lodge No. 252 in Olean, New York at the amazing Olean Masonic Temple. This event was hosted by the 309 Society and what an evening it was. The lecture given by W:. Hammer was moving and motivating. The progression of the restorative Masonic movement is sweeping the country. Lodges inspired by W:. Hammer's work , like Harmonie, were once considered the outliers. Today the movement is becoming much more common and the return to real Masonic practice is becoming a true force for change.

If you have not heard Brother Hammer speak or have read his book, get on it. His book is amazing and hearing him speak is a true privilege.  I would also advise you on taking a trip out the Olean Temple. It is well worth your time. The Lodge is a site to see and easily the most impressive Lodge room I have see this side of the State.   
Around the Quarry,
W:. D 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bro. Bonnett presents "The Masks of Masonry"

What an innovative and refreshing program. On September 26th our Senior Warden Bro. Ryan S. Bonnett presented his program the "Masks of Masonry". This was one of the best program I have seen in a long while. Bro. Bonnett covered the jungian inspired archetypes and who they are represented in the Lodge. Bro. Bonnett has a flair for using pop culture references in his program, and with amazing effects. I very much hope he takes his outlined power point presentation and fills it out to a full paper. As always, Bro. Bonnett's work invoked much discussion around the Festive Board. I personally do not know what could be asked for in presentation of Masonic works.  

2012 Ronald J. Keel Fellowcraft Club "Bullets and Brotherhood" Shooting Event

Dear Brothers,

What an amazing weekend! I was only able to attend on Saturday to Sunday but if that is any indication  of the time we had, that would be amazing. We had 15 Brothers (from three Lodges) visit to the event, we even had a few Brothers we have not seen around the Lodge in years come on out to this event. All in all, this was the best attened shooting event we have ever had. The food was wonderful, the Fellowship legendary and my next day recovery slow!

Special thanks must be given to Brother Ben Kaminski for letting us use his amazing Hunting Grounds. Thanks also need to go to our appointed President of the RJK, Brother Dennis McMullen. His work with others in the club allowed this to be one of our strongest events yet.  We are still collecting videos and pictures from the event. If you have some please send them over to the Master so I can get them up.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Our District Deputy Grand Master's Official Visit

Dear Brothers,

What an amazing honor it was to have so many Brothers around our Festive Board. After speaking with the Junior Warden, the count was well over 50 Brothers! This was the largest Festive Board Harmonie has ever hosted and easily the best attended offical visit of our DDGM in the last 15 years. I want to thank the DDGM for his visit and sharing with us the bonds of fellowship both before and after the meeting. R:.W:. Thomas Pecoraro has been a friend of Harmonie and myself for years. It is wonderful to see a man of vision and drive in the DDGM role in 1st Erie. The Grand Master could not have found a better man for the role.      

The Program started with the awarding of the Distinguished Service Award to W:. Robert L. Coe. W:. Coe has been a solid man and Mason since he entered Harmonie Lodge. For us youngsters in the Craft , he has been a pillar of strength and reliability. He has supported the Lodge during our periods of change and has never failed to help an outgoing Master with installation of his replacement. I honestly cannot imagine him not acting as the Marshall during Installation. He is one of our honored Past Masters and it was pleasure to be able to assist in awarding him this honor.    

The program continued with the District Team lecturing on the different roles and projects of Grand Lodge in the coming year. It was a distinct pleasure to receive the newly Right Worshipful Paul Berma (Harmonie Lodge was the first Lodge to receive him as the Grand Representative to Tasmania) and his talk on the Masonic ID program was inspiring. We were lucky to have all 12 members of the team (of which I am a member) at Harmonie. I can say with all honesty, this was the best DDGM Team program I have seen in my years in Masonry. The 1st Erie District is very fortunate to have such talented and driven men in our ranks.

The night concluded with the our district staff officers' presentations. The V:.W:. Gerard Colemen spoke on the need for Lodges to raise the bar ever higher when it comes to the execution of our work. Harmonie has become known as a place to witness the spectacular nature and presentation of our ritual but we need to get even better and stronger. That is what our Grand Master has called us to do. As Master of the Lodge, I agree with him in concern with the Craft as a whole and Harmonie. A Brother only gets one set of Degrees. There should be no rumbling, bumbling or fumbling. The Degree is no place to practice but to exemplify the beauty of our work. The R:.W:. Daniel Peters took the stage after, speaking on the Masonic Care Community and the upcoming education events being hoisted by both Erie Districts. The last speaker was our DDGM, the R:. W:. Thomas Pecoraro. In accordance with the Grand Master, his message was given on the level. I am very thankful for such an act of humility. Embracing our equality as men an Masons is a core ideal of Freemasonry. To see it exemplified from our highest ranks is both refreshing and needed in this changing times.

After the meeting, the Brothers went outside to enjoy Harmonie first (I hope of many) cigar nights. It was a clear and wonderful night, perfect for fellowship and Brotherly conversation. I personally, could not have hoped for a better night at Lodge.

Remember at our first meeting after Installation. I challenged each Brother to visit other Lodges. The DDGM official visits are a wonderful time to do so. Check out the DDGM's visitation dates on the Harmonie google calendar found here -

I will see you all around the quarry,

W:. D

1st Degree Tracing Board Lecture

On August 22nd 2012 W:. Daniel J. Di Natale gave our newest class of Masons a taste of the mysteries of Freemasonry. Instructing using a John Harris 1st Degree Tracing Board. The Master gave lecture of the deeper meanings of our Ritual, which can only be found in meditating on the Tracing Boards. This practice of instruction has been staple since the very founding of the Concordia Collegium. It is one of the most important returns in practice in our Masonic Restoration of Harmonie Lodge.   

If you have interest in further light found on the Tracing Boards, there are two amazing books on the topic which you would benefit from reading,

1) Tracing Boards - Their Development and Designers by T.O Haunch
2) Freemasonry: A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol  by W. Kirk McNulty 

Also check out the expanded section on Tracing Boards on the Harmonie Lodge website. We have recently updated and have posted the largest collection of images concerning the boards on the web. 

Follow the link to learn more -

Enjoy my Brothers! 
W:. D 

Monday, September 3, 2012

How Freemasonry Can Fulfill the Needs of the 21st Century Man

How Freemasonry Can Fulfill the Needs of the 21st Century Man
By. Worshipful Brother Nathan A. Shoff, Master of Harmonie Lodge in 2010

Despite the seemingly immutable qualities of Freemasonry (those unchangeable Landmarks), our Fraternity has in fact evolved dramatically over the centuries to account for social and political changes, thereby preserving itself as a useful – indeed necessary – social construct.

            One of the most historically curious things that distinguished the English Free Stone Masons guilds of the late 16th and early 17th centuries is that, unlike many of the other artistic and mercantile trade groups (guilds), the operative lodges of medieval stone cutters allowed (perhaps reluctantly at first), non-tradesmen – the “speculative” Freemasons – to affiliate with their lodges.  This first act of evolution of purpose ensured that, while actual work in physical stone faded from architectural fashion, the symbols and traditions of Free Stone Masons would be perpetuated for future generations.

During the growth of Speculative Freemasonry in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Masonic Order focused on the intellectual development of individual brethren, and the democratization of society at large.  While these are still laudable goals for men of any time period, they seem less pressing today.  To an 18th century English Freemason, the zenith of the educated man was knowledge and understanding of the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences; an education scarcely available to any but the most affluent families.  Although these arts and sciences still represent a well-rounded education, any man or woman in America and Europe today has the capability – through free public education – to learn the rudiments of grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music, and, in fact, many more disciplines not even conceived of during the early centuries of the Fraternity (scientific chemistry, physics, social science, economics).  Similarly, although the strength of our democratic system of government can (and is) much debated today, liberal and conservative amongst us can agree that we no longer suffer under the cruel and arbitrary rule of an hereditary sovereign like our English, American and French brethren of the 17th and 18th centuries.  And none of us in the West need fear death or other reprisal at the hand of Government for the promotion of our personal religious beliefs (or the rejection of others’ religious beliefs).

When, at least in America, the goals of universal education and representative government were realized in the early days of our Republic, the focus of Freemasonry appears to have again changed in emphasis.  That is, in the 19th and 20th centuries, Masonry came to be known as a fraternity that preserved and improved its members’ material well being in addition to their intellectual growth.  For example, the Fraternity excelled in building hospitals, orphanages, convalescent homes, and provision of other non-institutional care for the neediest of society (especially the widows and orphans of fellow-Masons).  Also, in the post-World War II boom in fraternal membership, many Freemasons sought out the brotherhood to make good business contacts and to further their professional careers.  Whether or not the latter is a noble goal is beyond the scope of this essay.  Nevertheless, just as the political/governmental upheavals of the 18th century forced Freemasonry to redefine itself to a certain extent, the dire need for Masonic philanthropy has been somewhat mooted in the 20th century through the advent of New Deal safety net programs (Social Security, Social Security Disability) and later President Johnson’s Great Society programs (Medicare / Medicaid), which all help to alleviate the suffering of the poor, widows and orphans.  Additionally, the global corporatization and bureaucratization of modern business allows much less room for the informal aid of one Brother helping another Brother advance his career.  Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, the Fraternity sells itself short when defining its purpose as merely (or predominantly) philanthropic.  As has been described extensively elsewhere, the confusion surrounding what Masons do, and why we do it, has lead to a decline of membership numbers in many lodges.

But what does a 21st Century man need?  How can Freemasonry still be relevant to young men of the Millennial generation?  To understand how, I believe, Freemasonry should develop to meet the needs of modern brethren, allow me to identify some of the challenges facing men today.

First, across the globe, we have an extremely mobile society.  Many young men move hundreds of miles around the country (and even abroad) in search of post-secondary education and meaningful work.  This has largely severed the traditional means of establishing trust.  That is, our trusted friends we may have grown up with over decades and have known in high school or college are often a great distance from us and can’t help with building our life in a new community.  Similarly, people rarely work for the same employer for very long today, and someone with whom one may build a rapport could be in another company (and a different city) tomorrow.  Thus, it is very difficult for a young man to have, or find, lasting friendships with individuals he knows he can trust.  Freemasonry, however, can fill that void.  As a universal brotherhood, not only are there lodges in most cities and towns to which a person might eventually move for work or school, but the shared morality and ritual helps to provide a base of common understanding (and trust) that a man might not otherwise have with someone who grew up in a completely different state, or with a very different personal or professional background.

Closely related to the mobility of our society is the concomitant issue of technological fragmentation.   While it is usually pleasant to connect with old friends and co-workers on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or other social media environments, these virtual interactions do not bring the immediate tangible benefits of real personal communication.  In their more social aspect, active Masonic lodges provide a sure remedy to the isolation inherent in our modern technological society.  Regular meetings, the Agape, special events, and other occasions provide brethren time to have face-to-face interaction with each other and revel in conviviality.  This is something which modern man not only craves, but also truly psychologically needs.

Finally, as many anthropologists and psychologists have aptly pointed out, most organized religion is today devoid of true initiatory ritual, and, couched as it might be in symbols and stories pegged to an alien culture (the very ancient pastoral Middle East), curious modern men are left with an unfulfilled spiritual yearning.  Again, in this regard, Freemasonry can be of service.  Not only are Masonic lodges founded with the very purpose of perpetuating initiation rituals for new brethren, but the universal symbols used by the Craft helps to maintain that initiative mythos and re-awaken spiritual thirst within our men.

While Freemasonry has always been about making “good men better,” the needs of those men have changed dramatically over the years.  As such, the Fraternity must continually keep up.  Just as in past generations Freemasonry sought to improve men’s education, political rights, and material care, today, good men need the Craft’s help to improve their social and spiritual lives.  As long as Freemasonry adapts to these newer needs of modern men, I have no doubt it will be around to address the needs of the men of the 22nd Century.

Welcome to the Craft

Welcome our Newest Masons

I apologize for the very slow update on our Blog. The duties of the Master have got me very strapped for time. On July 22nd Harmonie Lodge entered into the Craft seven Brothers. The degree was very well executed, with particular attention on the music played by our Musical Director Bro. Michael Hacker. The work was done near flawless and deeply impressed upon the minds of our newest the seriousness of our Order. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bro. Guzak's Masonic Etiquette and Protocol

Dear Brothers,

On July the 25th our own Junior Warden, Bro. Michael P. Guzak, gave his first original program to Harmonie Lodge. His topic was on Masonic Etiquette and Protocol. He covered all the little details you just do not learn unless someone teaches them, like the proper way to wear your apron and how to give the "Sign of Fidelity" the right way. He did a wonderful job and stimulated much conversation around the Festive Board. I am very proud of his efforts and look forward to him teaching again.

Many Brothers expressed interest in learning more about this subject. I would suggest they read "Freemasonry and its Etiquette" by Bro. Willam Campbell-Everden (ISBN 0517259141). It is a classic on the subject and you can pick it up on Amazon from under $1!

Recap on 2012 German Table Lodge

Dear Brothers,

What an amazing event, one of our finest Table Lodges yet. Special thanks needs to be given to Bro. Steve Kelly and Bro. Ryan S. Bonett, the magic workers in the kitchen. The food was flawless. A visitor that had lived in Germany stated to me that this was better than anything he had eaten while living in Germany. That is an amazing complement. We were honored to have two visiting Masters of Lodges and good friends of our Lodge, W:. Gargano of Living Stone Lodge No. 255 and W:. Tyler of Ancient Landmarks Lodge No. 358. We were also honored to visiting our Table Lodge as a guest, Mr. Dario Tazzioli. He is a world renowned artist commissioned by the Vatican. His interest in learning more about Freemasonry lead him to Bro. Cody Kroll and to our table. It was on honor to have spoken with him. The night concluded with W:. Daniel J. Di Natale and W:. Fredrick G. Clark making those in attendance "Turtles". Be very careful at Harmonie Brothers, you may just owe a few drinks! I have updated the Harmonie website with the event pictures. Please check them out it was a night to remember,

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Feast of St. John Summer Solstice Party 2012

Hello Brethren!

It's my privilege to report to you that the Ronald J. Keel Fellowcraft Club hosted yet another Summer Solstice picnic; serving dual duty as the celebration of The Holy Saints John Day as well.  In true RJKFC style, the festivities were well attended by Brethren and Fellows, and good times were had by all.  Very special thanks go out to Brother Ben Kaminski for his delicious contribution of his signature smoked "Bacon Explosion" served with a generous side of smoked bacon wrapped jalapeno and cheese finger-food appetizers.  Additionally, I want to extend heart felt gratitude to Brother Steve Kelly for donating a wonderful charcoal grill to the RJK Fellowcraft Club.  The grill proved to be perfect for our needs, and the Club will get years of use from his generous gift.

Aside from fantastic conversation, the day was filled with clear skies perfect for frisbee and a Nordic lawn game that W:. Daniel J. Di Natale introduced us to.  Plenty of cold beverages kept us cool, and in addition to Bro. Kaminski's culinary treats, delicious Rib-eye Delmonico steaks were served with tasty sides.  A fine selection of premium cigars procured by Brother Andre Pigeon rounded out the day's offerings, and no one went away dissatisfied.

The Feast of the Holy Saints John, celebrated in conjunction with the Summer Solstice was a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with Brothers we haven't seen in a while, and a great way to meet new Fellows seeking to be members or The Craft.  It's one of my favorite events of the year, and holds a special place in my heart... and belly too!

Thanks to all for attending, and for making this year's event a success!  Stay tuned, as 2012 will surely be a fun filled year!

Bro. Dennis McMullen
President, RJK Fellowcraft Club

Monday, June 25, 2012

Masonic Restoration in Chautauqua County

On June 21st W:. Daniel J. Di Natale was invited to speak before the District Council of Chautauqua. W:. Di Natale was invited by R:. W:. Raymond Gordon, Past DDGM of Chautauqua Masonic District, to speak on Masonic Restoration movements and the efforts of Harmonie Lodge. The presentation was well received with representation for every Lodge in the district in attendance. It was a truly humbling experience as word of what Harmonie Lodge's efforts of renewal have inspired men even before the presentation was given, as expressed by many in attendance.

Congratulations to our 2012 Officers

On June 13th Harmonie Lodge installed its 143rd officer line. The officers where installed by W:. Nathan A. Shoff as the Installing Master and assisting him was W:. Robert Coe as Marshal. This night was a smashing success with well over 40 Masons and and guests visiting Harmonie. The Brothers of The Lodge of the Ancient Landmarks No. 358 attend in force and presented the newly installed W:. Daniel J. Di Natale with a gift. A wonderful piece of Harmonie history, as toasting mug made by Buffalo Pottery during the Pan American Exposition.  W:. Fredrick G. Clark, our out going Master, was presented by W:. Daniel J. Di Natale with a Past Master's Jewel and apron once owned by W:. Ronald J. Keel. The state of the apron was so poor that it had to be restored to is original appearance by Brother William Ellis of The restored sections of the apron are identical to the original apron worn by W:. Keel.  After Installation the first Festive Board of the new year was shared by the Members and guests. 

Our 2012 Officer Line 
(Pictured left to right) : Front Row: Bro. Joshua Keim – Junior Deacon, Bro.  Donald Monheim – Senior Steward, Bro. Andre Pigeon – Marshal,  Bro. Eric Seward – Junior Steward ,W:. BRo. Fredrick G. Clark II – Trustee, Bro. Jeffery Keagen – Tiler – Middle Row: Bro. Christopher L. Samul – Treasurer, Bro. Michael Hacker – Musical Director, Bro. Dennis McMullen – Senior Deacon, William Chapin II – Trustee/Chaplian – Top Row: Ryan S. Bonnett – Senior Warden, W:. Daniel J. Di Natale – Master, Bro. Micheal Guzak – Junior Warden – Not Pictured: Bro. John Budowski – Secretary, Bro.Benjamin Kaminski – Senior Master of Ceremony, Bro. Zachary Burgess – Junior Master of Ceremony, Bro. Stephen P. Kelly – Trustee.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Visit to the 309 Society

Dear Brothers,
What an amazing visit. We are so lucky to have such amazing men and Brothers in our grand Order. The Brothers of Harmonie planned on going down to to visit the 309 Society and hear our first Patron, W:.Bro. Andrew Hammer, speak on his book. Sadly, Brother Hammer got very ill the day of and was unable to travel. In a pinch, Bro. Daniel Di Natale was invited to fill Brother Hammer's very big a deeply missed shoes. A lecture was presented on what Brother Hammer's work has done to inspire Harmonie Lodge in building New Janusian Masonry.

Though far from the orator that Brother Hammer is, the night went very well. We even made a few new friends! I want to thank Brother Backaus and Right Worshipful Brother Joyce for their amazing hospitality. The Brothers of Harmonie look forward to visiting you at Olean Lodge some time very soon. Brothers, if you look to the side bar I have added R:.W:. Joyce's Blog to our list of "More Light". Take a look it is a killer blog (there is an article about our visit there). Any Brother that missed the lecture, a copy of it will be made available on the Harmonie website for your review.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Old Master's Wages

I met a dear old man today
Who wore a Masonic pin.
It was old and faded like the man
Its edges were worn quite thin

I approached the park bench where he sat
To give the old brother his due
I said, "I see you've traveled east."
He said, "I have, have you?"

I said, "I have and in my day
Before the all seeing sun
I played in the rubble of Jubala
Jubilo, and Jubalum."

He shouted, "Don't laugh at the work my son.
It's good and sweet and true.
And if you've traveled as you have said
You should give these things a due.

"The word, the sign, the token,
The sweet Masonic prayer,
The vow that all have taken
Who have climbed the inner stair.

"The wages of a Mason
are never paid in gold.
But the gain comes from contentment
when you're weak and growing old.

"You see I've carried my obligation
for almost fifty years.
It has helped me through the hardships
and the failures full of tears.

"Now I'm losing my mind and my body.
Death is near but I don't despair.
I've lived my life upon the level
And I'm dying upon the square."

Sometimes the greatest lessons
Are those that are learned anew
And the old man in the park today
has changed my point of view.

To all Masonic Brothers
The only secret is to care.
May you live upon the level.
May you part upon the square

Concordia Collegium Presents R:. W:. Richard C. Friedmen

Monday, March 12, 2012

When is a Man a Mason? By Bro. Rev. Joseph Fort Newton

When he can look out over the rivers, the hills, and the far horizon with a profound sense of his own littleness in the vast scheme of things, and yet have faith, hope, and courage-which is the root of every virtue.

When he knows that down in his heart every man is as noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolic, and as lonely as himself, and seeks to know, to forgive, and to love his fellowman.

When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yea, even in their sins-knowing that each man fights a hard fight against many odds.

When he has learned how to make friends and to keep them, and above all how to keep friends with himself.

When he loves flowers, can hunt birds without a gun, and feels the thrill of an old forgotten joy when he hears the laugh of a little child.

When he can be happy and high-minded amid the meaner drudgeries of life.

When star-crowned trees and the glint of sunlight on flowing waters subdue him like the thought of one much loved and long dead.

When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid without response.

When he finds good in every faith that helps any man to lay hold of divine things and sees majestic meanings in life, whatever the name of that faith may be.

When he can look into a wayside puddle and see something beyond mud, and into the face of the most forlorn fellow mortal and see something beyond sin.

When he knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope.

When he has kept faith with himself, with his fellowman, and with his God; in his hands a sword for evil, in his heart a bit of a song-glad to live, but not afraid to die!

Such a man has found the only real secret of Masonry, and the one which it is trying to give to all the world.

Friday, March 9, 2012

15 Qualities of a Master Mason - By Bro. Steve Grant

I saw this posted on our good Brother John Paul Gomez's facebook and had to share. I love what Brother Grant has to say. Being so close to our 3rd Degree and with other events that have happened around our quarry, I think it good food for thought of our Fellowcrafts and Master Masons alike. Enjoy my Brothers!

15 Qualities of a Master Mason

1. Master Masons do not have selfish interests. All they do, say, and think is for the welfare of others.

2. Vanity is dead for them. They see themselves as they are and do not pretend to be something other than what they are.

3. Anger is no longer their master. They have found that anger is a defense mechanism of the ego.

4. They are not the slaves of possessions. Money, homes, cars, clothes, books, TV's are not evil in themselves; it is being a slave to them that is a problem.

5. Master Masons are not afraid to act with courage in their convictions. If they have a fear, they act to overcome it.

6. A Master Mason is always a real person. He does not care what others think of him, but he constantly cares for the welfare of others.

7. He sees the viewpoints of others. He listens and thinks about what others are saying so as to understand them.

8. His emotions are always positive. If hate or anger try to control him, he finds love and understanding and lets them bloom instead.

9. He uses his imagination for creative, not destructive purposes. He imagines how he is going to respond instead of react to events.

10. He does not belittle or slander others. His job is to see that anything that comes from his mind, emotions, or mouth is the highest it can be for him.

11. Each day he aligns himself with his inner teacher. He does this by spending a few quiet minutes to allow himself to be healed of his vices and shortcomings.

12. All his actions have as their basic animating energy the power of Love. Even when he acts as a warrior to destroy darkness and evil, it is with the support of love and freedom.

13. He always has a vision. His vision comes from his heart, and because this is so, it always includes humanity.

14. His actions, feelings and thoughts are in harmony with the teachings of ageless Wisdom. He is always acting in the best interests of all concerned, and his daily life is an example of sanity and balance.

15. He is never fanatical. He is sane, normal, and healthy. The most interesting idea about the Master Mason is that he is one who is an example of integration. Integration means that his mind, emotions, and body all work together and not against each other. A true Master Mason has glimpsed the eternal and unchanging reality of life. He sees all things as necessary in the Great Plan for unfolding the hidden potential of all creation. As such, mortality and its illusion are overcome by him. As he lives in the eternal, his life reflects that eternal consciousness.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cornerstone Award to W:. Bro. Alios Altendrofer

Dear Brothers,

It was my distinct pleasure to witness the Cornerstone Award be issued to W:. Bro. Alios Altendrofer. W:.Bro. Altendrofer has served Harmonie as Master 11 times. He is the longest serving Master that Harmonie has ever had. It it was not for his service, what would become the Harmonie of today may never have happened. It is for this reason that Worshipful Fredrick G. Clark II honored him today. If any of the Brothers would like to reach out to Louie, just drop the Secretary a line for his contact information. Louie loves a visit from his Brothers.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Recap: The 7th Annual Ward A. Peterson Charity Pool Tournament

My Brothers,

What an amazing event! We had over 30 friends and Brothers that attended this event. This is the largest turnout the pool tournament has ever had. I want to personaly thank Bro. Burgess for manning the bar, Bro. Samuel, McMullen and Keim for running the bracket, Bro. Chapin for taking care of the money and each Brother that help during the night. This was the smoothest event I think we have ever had. All the Brothers came together and it made for a special night. I also want to thank the generosity of each of the Brothers that donated to the event. Your gift made is possible for this event to be as much fun as it was.

I have been getting calls, text and emails about how thankful people were to me for running such successful event. Please, don't thank me I really didn't do anything. It was the Brothers of Harmonie, all of us, that made this such a successful event. I think we even made a few friends that now have a better idea of what is meant by the "Mystic Tie" and true fellowship of man.

We are still getting the final count from Bro. Chapin for the donation to the Ward A. Peterson Fund. From what I have heard from Bro. Chapin this was the largest amount raised for the Ward, ever. We should be very proud of that.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Brother Kelly's Auto Emblems

Hello Brothers,

Our own Brother Steve Kelly has designed a very nice auto emblem for your car or anywhere a Masonic emblem can go. No fooling around, these things are huge about 5 inches in diameter. I spoke with Brother Kelly and he is even working on ways to customize the emblem with your Lodge's name on them. They are made of high quality resin and hand painted by Brother Kelly himself. I am sure if you talk to him he may even be able to give you a custom painted job. I know he is planning on having a few available at the pool tournament on the 22nd. These are Made by a Brother for a Brother. You can't beat that. if you would like one he is taking order in person or over Facebook. I believe he will have them on ebay soon.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Dear Brothers,

Each month I try to bring you a review of the finest in Masonic Regalia. This month have a special review of my favorite producer of Masonic Aprons, in my opinion the best United States, Brother William Ellis (Delton Lodge No.105 F and A. M of Georgia) of Brotherhood Aprons.

I found Brother Ellis when he was first getting started on ebay. I found a few aprons he made, nothing crazy just ultra high quality plain white apron for dress wear. I fell in love with the craftsmanship as soon as I got my first in the mail. In fact each year since, our Candidate's Aprons have been made by him. Each year our candidates, visitors and Brethren can’t believe the quality of the Aprons. They are just that amazing.He is also the only craftsmen I know that makes true white lambskin aprons (other company state it is but in the fine print it states "lambskin like product").

I had read many books and have seen the amazing works of art that once were Masonic Aprons. I discovered that it used to be common Masonic practice to have your own custom Apron, an Apron made by you representing your love of the Craft. I want something like that so badly and I found it in Brother Ellis’s work. I have 5 Aprons that he has made for me other the years and I wear them every chance I get. Brother Ellis is a joy to work with and has helped me develop many of the custom items our Lodge has in it's collection.

His Aprons are made by him and his wife, all in the USA. The best part of it is his pricing. His Aprons are priced a fifth of what other Masonic Regalia companies charge and his quality is vastly superior. Even better, what you can dream he can design.I have yet to stump him on a design and each one I send only comes back better then what I designed.

Brother Ellis has helped me make my vision of custom Masonic Aprons for Harmonie a reality. I have strongly recommended that each new Brother (and others on the sideline) have one made for him to wear to Lodge after their rising and beyond. Make it a point to visit his webpage and talk to him about your very own custom apron. He just got a new printing machine and from what I have seen the design is only bound by what you can think up.