Aloha everyone! Thank you so much for coming this afternoon to the Installation of Officers for the Grand Lodge of Hawaii. It is truly an honor and very humbling to be standing before all of you as the new Grand Master of Hawaii. Before I begin, I want to thank the Installing team that did such a wonderful job. MW Monty Glover, the Installing Officer, MW Tony Ligaya, the Master of Ceremonies, and the Very Rev. John Connell, the Installing Chaplain. I also want to thank Dan Quinn, our Piper for this evening. What a wonderful and awesome feeling to have a Bagpipe playing as we proceeded in. I’m sure our visiting brethren from Iverness, Scotland enjoyed it as well.
For those of you who don’t know, I am half Scottish. My mom, Ruth Ann, who passed away in 2005 was very proud of her Scottish heritage. Her maiden name was Burns, and her Great Grandfather, Robert Luke Burns, came from Edinburgh, Scotland in the 1800’s. He was also a Freemason. I know that she is looking down on me from above this evening with pride and it is a bit hard to not have her here to enjoy this evening with us. God bless you mom. My dad, Frank Sr. is here this evening and I am thankful that he raised me right and always taught me to be an honorable man. I have never met a harder working man than my father. He is the epitome of the Italian work ethic. Thanks dad for everything that you did for us. I also want to thank my family for putting up with me for all of these years. For almost 20 years, I have attended Honolulu lodge every Tuesday night, as well as other Masonic functions such as Scottish Rite, York Rite, AMD, Rosicrucians, Shriners, and Grand Lodge visitations and Executive Board meetings monthly. If it weren’t for the support of my wife, Leah, I could not have accomplished so much in Masonry and participated to the best of my ability. Thank you Leah, I love you so much! Thank you for 14 wonderful years. You really do need the support of your family in Masonry, and don’t forget that my brethren. I am also very proud of my son, Frank, who is active in DeMolay, the Masonic youth organization for boys. The DeMolay Boys did a fantastic job of performing the Arch of Steel for the Grand Lodge Officers today. I also want to thank the International Order of Rainbow for Girls who prepared lunch for us yesterday and continue to do this jurisdiction proud with their activities for girls.
As you have noticed from my Grand Master’s pin, my motto this year is “Serve With Honor.” A simple statement, which at the same time is very profound. I truly do love this ancient and honorable fraternity and I want us to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Unfortunately, in the real world, not all of us are truly honorable in everything we do. You might ask, is this even possible or realistic. I believe it is. We as Freemasons can strive to be better men. We say that Masonry makes good men better, so lets follow through with this in our everyday lives and our actions at lodge. For the next year, I am the shepherd of the fraternity in Hawaii. I promise you that I will do everything within my power to serve honorably and to live up to my Masonic obligations. I will also hold all of you up to this high standard as well, because to do otherwise would make us all hypocrites. Freemasonry is the oldest fraternity in the world and has millions of members worldwide. We have our supporters and we have our detractors. We don’t always do a very good job of promoting the good we do in the community and this is partially the reason why many in the general public do not know what Masonry is about. We do not traditionally flaunt the good we do in the community.
One of the ways I would like to promote Masonry in the community is to revitalize the Constitutional Observance activities at the Grand Lodge level. You may remember that in 2000 and for several years thereafter, Honolulu Lodge performed a re-creation of the Boston Tea Party to commemorate the many Freemasons who were patriots during the American Revolution. At the time, we received some wonderful press and media attention and had a great time in colonial costume. This will become a Grand Lodge event and again put us in the public eye and educate the community at the same time about American history and the connection with Freemasonry. Look for this in September.
I am also looking at programs to educate the public and the Hawaiian community about Freemasonry’s connection to the Hawaiian Monarchy in the 19th century here in Hawaii. Some of you may not know that King Kalakaua and King Kamehameha IV were Masters of their Masonic lodges. King Kamehameha V and Prince Kawananakoa were also members. I have a few dedicated brethren that are assisting me with this endeavor and I look forward to some great events in the coming months. I also want to jump start our 501C3 charity called Masonic Charities of Hawaii. The main program for this charity is the Keiki ID program that some of you may have seen at community events. This is a great program that incorporates a digital picture, fingerprints, and educational materials for parents of small children, in case something should happen to them. I hope to use this charity to purchase new equipment and software, and motivate the lodges to participate more over the next year. Another way to promote what we are doing to the world is by having a major makeover of the Grand Lodge of Hawaii website. This new professional looking website will go live by tomorrow. This website will provide more information for the brethren of Hawaii as well as visitors from all over the world. Our Grand Lodge quarterly newsletter will also be updated to have the appearance of a Grand Lodge magazine that we can all be proud of sharing and contributing to. Please support me on these new plans.
In our busy lives, it is not always so easy for every new candidate to be the same as the next. We all come with different abilities and time restraints, due to family, work, health, and other obligations. For this reason, I will be having a Grand Master’s Fast Class in July that will be open to all lodges and brethren who are already Entered Apprentice Masons. This will allow the lodges to catch up with ritual the traditional way and welcome the brethren who have been struggling. I look forward to raising these brethren myself on that day.
Over the past year, we have had our trials and tribulations. I have been honored to have served under MW Tony Ligaya this past year and have learned from him and the other Grand Lodge officers. With effort, integrity, and honor, we can get through anything. I want the brethren to know that your Grand Lodge officers are approachable and we want your support and input. The Grand Lodge can be intimidating at times and in the past there has been an us vs. them mentality. Although we are the governing body for this jurisdiction, we also need to support each other in order to be more effective. We have over 1800 members in this jurisdiction and I will do my best to serve all of them. As your Grand Master, it is my duty to make changes and modifications when I believe it is in the best interest of the fraternity. There will be some changes this year, as there has been with each Grand Master in the past. But rest assured, these changes have been contemplated for some time and will not be done haphazardly. Please support me in these endeavors. Again, I am very approachable and will always talk to you on the level.
Let us all look into our hearts and souls and understand what it is to be a truly honorable man, for our country, our families, our careers, and our lodges. We have the opportunity to do great things in our lives if we strive to continually be better and treat others as we ourselves would want to be treated. In the end, if we fight the good fight, we can hold our heads up high and know that we made a difference, no matter how small it may seem to others.
On a lighter note, and in closing, I encourage you all to attend the Grand Master’s banquet at the Hale Koa Banyan Tree Showroom this evening at 6 p.m. There is a special cultural presentation planned as well as some great classic rock music and my son playing electric guitar with the band. Tickets are still available. Please enjoy the rest of your evening and mahalo nui loa for honoring us with your presence and support. May the Great Architect of the Universe bless you and your families this coming year. Aloha!