Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Recipients are presented a medallion on a neck ribbon, a photo of which is shown.
This year, the Grand Lodge of Minnesota was privileged to present this prestigious award to two Minnesota Masons, Kirby Olson and Wayne Butt.
Congratulations, Brothers Mayer and Olson. You do our Fraternity proud!
These fine brothers have given me tons of support this year, and for the entire journey to become Grand Master. Just because I can't say thank you enough doesn't mean that I won't say it again:
THANK YOU, Brothers of Sibley Lodge! Job well done!
Talon had a big surprise, too! At the conclusion of his remarks, he pulled a Petition for Degrees from his pocket and asked me to be his second line signer! He then met representatives from Garnett Lodge at the altar and delivered the signed petition to them.
I do hope my schedule permits me to attend at least one of Talon's degrees. He is a fine young man, and will make an outstanding Mason.
The photo of these lovely ladies was taken the night before, at the Grand Master's gathering.
It had been a long time, and I hadn't heard from MWB Craig, so I hoped he had forgotten the bet. "Vain hope." When invited to bring greetings from the Masons of Iowa during the public opening, he produced a jersey and quite an unusual hat for me to wear.
I suffered through perhaps 15 minutes with the ISU colors. But, when it was time to introduce Dr. Yee from the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota, I just couldn't wear it any more.
Fortunately, I just happened to have some Maroon and Gold for the occasion...
Shown in the photo are District Representative Vern Schwalbe, yours truly, PGM Ralph and John.
It's pretty unusual to make such presentations at an annual communication, but for Masons who have contributed so mightily to our Grand Lodge, it is only appropriate.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Be assured, John L. Cook, Jr. was installed as Grand Master last Saturday afternoon. It was a great ceremony, and I will blog about it soon.
Thanks for your patience. I expect to have the blogs posted this week, and then this site will likely go inactive. I'll keep you posted ...
Saturday, March 27, 2010
There were presentations by Eastern Star, Job's Daughters and DeMolay. Dr. Douglas Yee made a very interesting presentation on behalf of the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. Grand Orator Bill Callister gave the oration, which came straight from the heart.
It was a great start to the communication. I'll make a couple more blog entries on some of the special things that happened during the opening.
Friday, March 26, 2010
This year, the Kelly Inn has a new space for hospitality, and it worked very well.
Shown are the crack waitstaff for the event, Mark McCarthy, his sister, Carrie Zak, and brothers-in-law Chuck Kelsey and Rick Zak.
In Ireland, the pubs close at 11:00. That's when I left, but the conviviality continued....
Thursday evening, the festivities of the Annual Communication were kicked off with the Grand Master's Gathering. This year, it was an informal mingling at the Herberger Room and Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame at the St Cloud Civic Center.
Patty and I were very happy to mingle with brothers and guests. There was good food and lots of good conversation and fellowship.
This bodes well for the communication....!
The truck is unloaded. Hundreds of brothers and guests will, in just a few hours, assemble in the St Cloud Civic Center for the public opening.
So what am I doing putting up this blog??? I have WORK to do!!!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
It is now down to hours.
I'm almost packed. The speeches are almost done. The agenda is almost finalized. But, ready or not, the kick-off to the annual communication is less than 24 hours away.
Patty and I will be heading to St Cloud tomorrow morning. Doug Campbell and Gary Odegard will be loading the truck at the Grand Lodge office and heading north themselves. Tomorrow will be a day of frantic activity and of asking over and again, "What else did I forget?"
But Friday morning, the public opening of the Annual Communication will begin at 9:00 a.m. and all will be well. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it)
I hope to see many of you in St. Cloud on Friday. Until then - actually, until Saturday afternoon at 1:00 - remember me in your applications to Deity.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
It was truly humbling to be so near items that were handled by the Father of our Country, and used by him as a Mason.
Meeting many Minnesota Masons with many wonderful histories was, without a doubt, the pinnacle of being Grand Master this year. But after those friendships, standing with Deputy Grand Master Cook behind these artifacts of United States and Masonic History has to rank up there with the most memorable experiences of this year.
I intend to stop blogging on this site within a few days of the installation of John L. Cook, Jr., as Grand Master of Minnesota Masons. I am, however, trying to decide just how to continue Tolerance Awareness Tuesday, as this poor world needs tolerance more than ever before.
Masonry should be the place to find the examples of practicing tolerance. It is said that the only place where a Christian, a Jew and a Muslim can meet in peace in the Middle East is in our lodge rooms. The Masonic value of tolerance MUST be maintained and promoted. It's good for Masonry, and it's good for our homes, communities, country and world.
As Brother Glenn Kiecker would say, "Tolerance: The Crown Jewel of Masonry"!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday evening, the Minneapolis Valley of the Scottish Rite performed that duty. We started with a sumptuous meal. Then we adjourned to the auditorium for the service. It was a most impressive ceremony, honoring 83 Scottish Rite Masons from the Minneapolis Valley that failed to answer to call of the roll in 2009.
MWB Terry Tilton delivered a wonderful and thought-provoking address. The names of the 83 deceased brothers was read, including my friend, David Caufman of LeSueur. A rose was laid on the altar and a candle lit, reminding us to carry their light with us as we perform our labors.
This was the last Masonic event for Patty and me before Grand Lodge. What a fitting way to end the Masonic year.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
A contingent from Sibley Lodge made the trip for the dinner: PM Ross Arneson and his wife Sheila, Grand Tyler Pete Schue, Grand Standard Bearer, Steve Saxton and WM Kevin Pioske. Thanks for coming in!
Area Deputy Ken White presided as Master of the Table Lodge, and everyone had a great time. MWB Chuck Luman gave a terrific talk on Masonry, using Abraham Lincoln as an example to emulate.
I was short one Irish joke for the evening, when Blake came through for me! What do you get when you cross a four-leaf clover and poison ivy? A rash of good luck!! Thanks, Blake!
This is the last big event on the calendar before the annual communication. It's been a terrific year. I look forward to thanking everyone, in person, at the Grand Lodge communication Friday and Saturday.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
As you can see from the intensity of the diners, the meal was greatly appreciated!
After the communication, the brothers organized tickets for the Sibley Lodge Spaghetti Supper, held in conjunction with Winthrop's Grackle Days, April 9.
When I next visit my home lodge, I'll be PGM (that's "Prestige Gone, Man") Tom McCarthy. The next time I see those brothers in a group, though, will be a week from Friday, when they open the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota at the St. Cloud Civic Center!
It is estimated that there are over 70 million persons of Irish descent that live outside of the island.
I am one of them.
My great-great grandfather, John McCarthy, left
March 17 is the feast day of St. Patrick, patron saint of
So, when we pause to listen to an Irish tune, or raise a glass for St. Patrick today, let’s also pause to consider the hardships endured shared by all immigrants coming to a new land, and give thanks that they came to such a wonderful country – the United States of America.
And, let us close with some lines from the Great Saint himself: “Therefore, indeed, I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favours and graces has the Lord deigned to bestow on me in the land of my captivity [Ireland]. For after chastisement from God, and recognizing him, our way to repay him is to exalt him and confess his wonders before every nation under heaven.”
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Adoptions are the happy exception to that rule. Plus, the new parents almost always bring a camera along!
These two adoptive parents were first foster parents. The little girl's natural father was terminally ill, and her mother was in prison when the parents took her in, just days after she was born. Now, a year later, she is a permanent part of their family. (I did obtain their permission to post this photo on my blog.)
We owe so much to foster parents. They provide shelter for our most vulnerable citizens. The need is always greater than the foster families available.
When I think of foster parents, I am reminded of this Irish blessing:
May God grant you many years to live,
For sure he must be knowing
The earth has angels all to few
And Heaven is overflowing.
Thank you, to these wonderful new parents, and to all the foster parents I have had the honor to know in my years as a judge and attorney.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Patty and I attended the Plymouth Lodge No. 160 125th Anniversary Dinner Sunday evening. It was a very nice evening. The Scottish Rite dining hall was decorated very nicely and the food was terrific.
After dinner, the Hiram Award was presented to Worshipful Brother Bob Armagost. His most impressive Masonic resume took several minutes to read - and, I'm told, was the abbreviated version! Congratulations, Brother Bob!
Dr. Phil McGlave of the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota gave a great talk on the history of the Mason's fight against cancer at the University of Minnesota, dating back over a half-century.
I then had the opportunity to make a few comments and to present a commemorative plaque to Worshipful Master Al Niederhaus and Plymouth Lodge.
As I come to the end of the year as Grand Master, events like this become even more memorable. Thank you, Plymouth Lodge, for allowing me to be part of this most special occasion.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
The Board meets in alternating months throughout the year. Saturday marked the last Corporate Board meeting prior to the Annual Communication, and thus, the last Corporate Board meeting that I will chair.
I have had the privilege of serving with phenomenal Masons on this Board. The elected and appointed officers are, and have been, top notch. Several one-year appointees have stepped up and contributed mightily to the operations of this body, including the Grand LEO, Ed Halpaus, who has given good and timely advice to the board for years; Grand Chaplain Steve Johnson and Grand Sword Bearer, Lew Price. I am glad that I will remain on the Board for two more years. Thank you, Brothers, for this privilege to serve.
I left the Board with this Irish Blessing, and I leave it for you all:
May your days be many
And your troubles be few.
May all God's Blessings
Descend on you.
May peace be within you
May your heart be strong.
May you find what you're seeking
Wherever you roam.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
In 1956, Life Magazine ran a story on the Masons. The cover was a photo of the Grand Masters assembled on the steps of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial.
Last month, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Memorial, that scene was recreated. I had the pleasure of standing with my colleagues from across the nation for the reenactment photograph!
If you click on the photo to make it bigger, and look about five rows down from the tip of the pyramid, just left of center, you should be able to spot me!
Sunday, March 7, 2010
I guess it really is coming to a close!
Please know that our meal orders must be in by this weekend. If you have not yet sent in your reservations to the Grand Lodge Secretary, do it NOW! (If you need a reservation form, or have questions about the Annual Communication, call the Grand Lodge office.)
I'm looking forward to seeing each of you in St Cloud - in less than three weeks!
For the first time in the history of Excelsior Lodge, a Hiram Award was made. And it could not have been presented to a more deserving brother - Past Master Richard McGinnis.
Patty and I were pleased to attend, and I had the pleasure of assisting with the presentation. Dick and Bonnie were most appreciative of the friends, brothers and sisters that took time out on a Sunday afternoon to drop by and give them best wishes.
Dick was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in 1985 - by his son! Since then, he has dug right in and is most active in Scottish Rite, York Rite and Shrine. He is an excellent ritualist and has taken many rolls in Excelsior Lodge as well as Scottish Rite degrees.
In his comments, WB Dick admitted to only one regret in his Masonic career - that it did not start earlier. How many times have we heard that?
Congratulations, Dick and Bonnie. Take the rest of the night off and enjoy the honor!
The Dan Patch Club is a great time. Good coffee, donuts, education, and most of all, good fellowship. If you have a chance, be sure to stop by the Masonic Home for one of their Saturday morning meetings. You'll be glad you did!