MW William Berman presents the gavel of authority
to RW Jose Daguman, inaugural Master of Plaridel.
RW Jose Daguman, RW Constantino Buno and RW Ross Rosales are the inaugural Master and Wardens.
The new altar cloth is in place.
The festivities are still underway as this edition of The Magpie Mason goes on-line, a celebration of the constitution of New Jersey’s newest lodge: Plaridel No. 302.
Above: MW John Colligas, our junior past Grand Master, reads aloud the warrant issued to Plaridel as MW Berman looks on. Below: the warrant.
It isn’t every day that we form new lodges; the trend for decades has been merging, consolidating, or just going dark. In the past 20 years or so, the Grand Lodge of New Jersey has constituted four lodges, including our research lodge (which the authorities say is not a lodge). The last Ceremony of Constitution took place seven years ago, when Sons of Liberty Lodge No. 301 quit the Garden State Grand Lodge and affiliated with us. The celebration tonight marks the constitution of Plaridel Lodge No. 302.
What these two new lodges share in common are their urban origins and ethnic identities. If you have any communication with Masons from outside the English-speaking world, you undoubtedly have been told of a fraternity that is heavy on initiation and instruction in the Craft’s symbols and teachings. The hotdog eating contests, kiddie parties and other ridiculous activities that have undermined Masonry in the United States are unknown to them, and if they do know, they’re mortified. Polite about it perhaps, but mortified.
I’m really hoping Plaridel adopts the cause of meaningful initiation supported by true impartation of the Craft’s secrets. Of course the lodge must function within the laws of our Grand Lodge (some of whose officers say there are no secrets in Freemasonry), but a lodge can walk that tightrope if its officers know what the rule book says – and what it does not say.
Both Sons of Liberty and Plaridel are at labor in New Jersey’s Fifth Masonic District, which covers Hudson County and is home to most of this jurisdiction’s urban lodges. These two lodges consist of brethren who are immigrants or first generation Americans, and I believe the advent of these lodges hints at the future of Freemasonry in New Jersey. Almost all of the other lodges in the state exist in suburbs, where they in effect become part of the civic club landscape alongside the Elks, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc. These “ethnic” lodges however offer the promise of true Freemasonry: a brotherhood informed by our unique God-centered psychology, and united in labors of intellectual, moral and spiritual growth. The names of these lodges recall fights for freedom from oppression. Those battles were not waged for the right to host chili cooking contests. Freemasonry is about more serious things, and is intended for more serious men. I wish them great success.
W. Phil Caliolio, left, as president of the Philippine Masonic Association of New Jersey, helped establish Plaridel. RW Steve Wolfson, on left in photo at right, had the goal of adding to his District a new lodge that adds to the ethnic diversity of New Jersey Freemasonry.
Plaridel Lodge is named for Marcelo H. del Pilar, a hero who is dear to The Magpie Mason’s heart because he was a journalist who labored to end three centuries of Spanish colonialism in the Philippine Islands. If only we had one of his kind in this country today. Read more here.
One aspect of fraternal life at Plaridel is confirmed: They eat well. This roast pig was the main course tonight, but hardly the only choice facing kosher/halal diners.
Approximately 100 Masons from across New Jersey, plus New York and the Philippines packed the lodge room at the Bayonne Masonic Temple, home of mighty Peninsula Lodge No. 99 (The Magpie Mason’s mother lodge). The 85-year-old temple has a special energy to it, albeit without air conditioning! It was the site of the first Rose Circle conference and salon in 2006.