September Temple Topics

Greetings, Brethren. As your new Temple Topics article editor, I’d like to give a big thanks to Bro. Darin Gonzalez (aka S. Dogood) for his past work on the articles, and all his help in letting me know how it’s done.

As you’ve probably noticed if you’ve been at lodge, Berwyn has a very capable and dedicated new group of officers. That’s a good thing, because interest in Masonry in general seems to be on the rise, and Berwyn has been enjoying the opportunity to make new Masons and Brothers. As a case in point, welcome newly-initiated Brother Juan Morado, and congratulate Bro. Fred Acosta for his recent completion of the first degree catechism (long form). It looks like many of Berwyn’s offices and Master Masons will also be joining the Scottish Rite at the November reunion, as well.


Upcoming events can always been seen on the lodge website, In addition to the regular stated meetings, we’ll have second degrees on September 14, and the Worshipful Master has been conducting practice sessions for officers and members on special meeting nights that do not have degree work scheduled. Bro. Alex Cabral, Senior Deacon and lodge education officer, will also soon kick off a new Masonic education program for meetings. And our Secretary, W.B. Luisito Fanlo, will make his triumphant return to the U.S. in October, and I, for one, miss him terribly (although Bro. Brigido Tan, who has been filling in at the Secretary’s desk during meetings, is doing a fine job!)

Masonic symbols

The Fellowcraft degree is now the middle degree of Craft Masonry, but once was the highest degree, the Master Mason degree being a relatively recent creation. In the guilds of the middle ages, a boy served as an apprentice until he completed his “master’s piece”, a work which qualified him to join the fellows of the craft as a journeyman or fellowcraft, who was in charge of his own labor. Our catechism, or the system in some Grand Jurisdictions of requiring candidates to write papers on Masonry between degrees, constitutes our own set of “master’s pieces”.

In our modern degree system, the Fellowcraft degree is often said to symbolize the mental or intellectual aspect of Freemasonry (vs. the physical aspect in the first degree and the spiritual aspect in the third degree), the man in his middle years, the hewer in the quarry, etc.

The first degree is a momentous occasion for the candidate and for the lodge – a man is made a brother. Similarly, the third degree, the sublime degree of Master Mason, is rightly accorded importance and always draws a crowd of brethren when it is conferred. In comparison, I’ve heard that some find the second degree to be more forgettable, and less significant. I must beg to differ; in many ways, I believe the second degree has the most consistent symbolism of our rituals.

Certainly, the candidate in the second degree is no longer a complete novice – he knows more of what to expect and less may be surprising. But this parallels exactly the experience of maturity and education that is the subject of the degree itself. No longer untutored, the brother now perceives his progress with the eye of knowledge and experience; indeed, it becomes necessary to remind him, through the position of the Great Lights, that his knowledge and experience will not be sufficient for him to comprehend the whole of Masonry already.

As a Fellowcraft, the brother receives working tools which recognize his more advanced skill. It is no coincidence that these tools are worn as the jewels of the Worshipful Master and Wardens, who were required to be Fellowcrafts in the days before the Master Mason degree was conferred. The beautiful and dramatic lectures he receives speak directly to the importance of study and learning in his development, as do his wages and jewels.

Word puzzle
Hidden in each sentence below are words related to Freemasonry. These words may appear within other words, or across two or more words. How many can you find? The first sentence is solved for you.

1.    ThoMAS ONly eats fish. (MASON)
2.    The privates salute as the non-com passes by the reviewing stand.
3.    Will Eve like the fruit more than Adam?
4.    We can’t cash large bills here.
5.    She will slap Ron if he repeats that word again.

Masonic thought for the day
You don’t honor your lodge by your membership and attendance. The lodge honors you by providing you with the opportunity to serve and share in the work. (Paraphrased from Claudy’s Old Tiler Talks)

I’d like to close with another note of thanks to R.W.B. Vyts Paukstys, who has been our able DDGM for the last several years, and is retiring from that duty. Bro Vyts, you know we look forward to your continued attendance at Berwyn.

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