As Master of the Lodge I have had the privileged to meet many wonderful men. At Harmonie we are lucky our Lodge meeting schedule is the opposite of most and we meet in the summer. This allows for Masonic travel to our Lodge that would simply not happen otherwise. We were lucky enough to have a wayfarer pass our way named Bro. Bruce L. Dolder , Junior Warden and Webmaster of Canopy Lodge No. 290, Oxford, Iowa. This Brother was so warmed by his visit that he wrote an article about his travels to Harmonie for his Lodge's newsletter. I have posted that article in its entirety for our membership (see below.)
Brothers, this is evidence that you never know how much each of us, doing what we perceive as simple things, impact the lives of those around us. I am humbled by Bro. Dolder taking the time to share his visit with his Lodge. It was an honor to have had him visit. I very much hope our paths cross again.
W:. Daniel J. Di Natale - Master of Harmonie Lodge
Trip to Buffalo, NY
|JW Josh Leim holding the apron of JW. Pm Ted Clark holding the jewel of JW.|
|Harmonie Lodge #699, looking from the West towards the East.|
During my travels, whether for business or leisure, I like to explore the cities I visit for Masonic Lodges. During my trip to Buffalo, NY (Aug 14-17, 2013), my internet research turned up several in the Buffalo area. I was going to be in Buffalo for the 2nd Wednesday, 3rd Thursday, and the 3rd Friday.
Looking at all of the Lodges in the area, only three were possible to visit. Erie Parish United Lodge #161 in Cheektowaga meets on the 1st & 3rd Thursdays, EXCEPT JULY and AUGUST, so that was not an option. Transportation Lodge #842 in Williamsville meets on the 1st & 3rd Thursdays, but it is located all the way up in Williamsville, about 15 miles north of Buffalo.
Harmonie Lodge #699 meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays and was located in Amherst, very near to my hotel, so it was the best choice. I located the Lodge on Wednesday the 14th and found the door unlocked. As I entered the building and saw lights on downstairs, I met three members of the Lodge who were preparing the food for the meal scheduled after the night’s work.
I asked the gentlemen if “a weary, wayfaring Brother from Iowa might have found a place where I could rest and refresh myself.” This led to some great conversations. The men were Ted Clark, Past Master of Harmonie Lodge, Josh Keim, Junior Warden of the Lodge, and Brother Anthony Marchioli, Junior Steward.
Further conversations led to an invitation to be a sideliner at their Stated Communication and their planned First Degree that evening. They had five new candidates for the mysteries of Masonry. They completed all five at the same time, and it was great to watch the differences in ritual between the jurisdictions of New York and Iowa. The differences were numerous and fascinating.
The first and most significant difference is the presence of the Senior and Junior Masters of Ceremonies. They sit in the West, with the Senior Master of Ceremonies in front of and to the Senior Warden’s right, and the Junior Masters of Ceremonies in front of and to the Senior Warden’s left. Their responsibilities include ensuring the candidate(s) are prepared in the Preparation Room, and escorting the candidate(s), the Senior Deacon, and the Marshal during their circumambulation of the Lodge Room. It was also interesting they left their rods outside the Preparation Room while with the candidates.
Another difference is the way they respond when spoken to in Lodge. If spoken to as their position in the Lodge, they respond back with the position of the person who spoke to them. Anytime all of the Lodge members were standing, they all saluted by placing their right hands across their chests, under their heart. That was also their salute when speaking or being spoken to in Lodge.
The officers of the Lodge wear jewels similar in design to what we see on the Grand Lodge Officers in Iowa, without the velvet lining.
Harmonie Lodge #699 was opened on the 3rd Degree of Masonry, business was conducted, and then Lodge was brought from labor to refreshment for a small respite. After refreshment, Lodge was brought from refreshment to labor on the 1st Degree to allow visiting Entered Apprentices to attend the First Degree. The entire degree was conducted in fine form by all members of the cast. The First Degree was conferred by WM Daniel J. Di Natale.
The Explanatory Lecture was led by WM Daniel J. Di Natale using a large piece of fabric, laid out in front of the new Entered Apprentices, containing all of the symbols of masonry. The Q&A was masterfully completed by the Junior Steward (Q’s) and the Senior Master of Ceremonies (A’s).
Following the conclusion of the degree work, one of the Honored Guests, Right Worshipful Jeffery M. Williamson, Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York thanked the Lodge for the invitation to the degree and praised them for their work. He is a very Dynamic speaker!!!
I would like to thank Worshipful Master Daniel J. Di Natale and the members of Harmonie Lodge #699, Amherst, NY, for the feeling of brotherly love and affection they shared with a wayfaring Brother from the State of Iowa!
Brother Bruce Dolder, JW