One of the great moments in a grand master’s term is the institution of a new Masonic lodge. Recently, I presided over that important ceremony for Andrés Bonifacio U.D., a new Filipino-inspired lodge in Gardena. As I researched the background of the lodge’s namesake, his role in Philippine independence from Spain, and the influence of Freemasonry on his thinking, I gained a better appreciation for why so many of our Filipino American brethren come to the fraternity.
Filipino Americans (both first- and second-generation) are the fastest-growing demographic of our California Masonic population. As they have joined the fraternity, they’ve brought with them an enthusiasm and dedication to the ideals of Freemasonry. In many cases, they’ve helped revitalize lodges—or in the case of Andrés Bonifacio U.D., crafted a whole new Masonic experience. To see the tightly knit culture that thrives in such lodges is to be reminded of the importance of family and the way a lodge can serve as a second home in our lives.
As many of you know, when our Filipino brethren celebrate, it’s a party. I have yet to attend an officers’ installation at such a lodge that wasn’t well organized, hugely attended by the local community, and a whole lot of fun. And the food! The annual Grand Filipiniana celebration at Anacapa No. 710 in Oxnard, the home of our grand tiler, Vinz Tolentino, is an amazing evening of endless food and performances. Events like these keep Filipino culture alive in California and strengthen our Masonic family.
With this issue, we salute our Filipino American brethren and their ongoing contributions to the fabric of Freemasonry in California. May their love of the Great Architect and their devotion to country, family, and the brotherhood serve as an example of all that we aspire to be as Masons.
Arthur H. Weiss
Grand Master of Masons of California