Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"There are never any strangers in a Masonic Lodge... only Brothers you have yet to meet!"

Dear Brothers,

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!

Respectfully Submitted,
Brother Bruce Dolder, JW

Thursday, August 15, 2013

1st Degree of Masonry - August 14, 2013

Our newest Masons - (left to right) Bro. DeCarlo, Bro. Kern, Bro. Alfieri,  Bro. Fabian and Bro. Hornberger
Honored Guests with the Master - Right Worshipful Jeffery M. Williamson, Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York - Worshipful Daniel J. Di Natale, Master of Harmonie Lodge No. 699 2012 - 2014 and Right Worshipful Daniel Peters, Grand Sword Bearer Grand Lodge of the State of New York

On the 14th of August Harmonie Lodge welcomed five wonderful men to the Craft. The work was near flawless and the emotion used in the execution of the Ritual deeply impressed upon the minds of our newest as well as our oldest members the seriousness of our work. Making this Degree even more special for our new Brothers was our list of distinguished guests. We welcomed R:.W:. Jeffery M. Williamson, Senior Grand Warden, R:.W:. Daniel Peters, Grand Sword Bearer, R:.W:. James Kintzel, Past Grand Representative to Bolivia, W:. Clark Stickland and the Brothers of Palmer Lodge No. 372 - Fort Eire - Brother Nick DeBergalis, Senior Warden - Enchanted Mountains Lodge No. 358 and Brother Bruce Dolder of Canopy Lodge No. 290, Grand Jurisdiction of Iowa. 

I want to thank all the Brothers that attended, took part and preformed the Ritual in this Degree.  A Lodge is nothing with out an active and engaged membership. Without each and everyone of you , member of Harmonie or not, this Degree would not have been the same.  The list of mentors will be going out in the next few days. Now it is time for the  new Brothers to work! 

I am proud with the Lodge to have conferred this honor upon these wonderful men.  I look forward to helping them direct their efforts as craftsmen in the quarry working toward more light. 

W:. Daniel J. Di Natale - Master of Harmonie Lodge No. 699 - 2012 to 2014 

Ronald J. Keel Fellowcraft Club's Night at the Museum - A Night with the Ladies of the Lodge - August 10th


It has been a long time since the Lodge or the R.J.K hosted a night with the ladies of the Lodge. This is sad, in all honesty the Brothers of Harmonie do things outside the Lodge all the time, which just kept leaving the ladies at home! On the 10th of August the Brothers brought their ladies for a night at the Buffalo Museum of Science for the special exhibit "Body Worlds." This was an amazing display of the human form in ways never seen so close. Just an jaw dropping exhibit. The real fun came after we left the main hall to explore the new parts of the museum.

If you have not visited since the renovations, do yourself the favor and go for visit. The new sections "In Motion" and "Our Marvelous Earth" are just wonderful exhibits. What makes them even more fun is the displays can be interacted with like games not just an object with a discription next to it. A very modern take on the museum experance. Well worth the price of admission and there is even a wind machine to show you what a hurricane would feel like. Take a look at the Buffalo Museums website to see all they offer - http://www.sciencebuff.org

After the tour of the museum the Brothers took their ladies out for dinner at Fat Bob's. Some of the best BBQ in the city. It was a wonderful time for the families of the Lodge to get to know one another outside of the four walls of the Temple. The ladies enjoyed themselves so much that we are planning a "Wine with Neal" event sometime in October. Keep posted details are coming soon.