In Santa Monica, the lodge hall of Sunset No. 369 doubles as a venue for aspiring comedians, artists, and musicians.
The most important thing that the newly formed Pilares del Rey Salomon Lodge plans to do will not, strictly speaking, be official. But it will quite certainly be historic.
The new Long Beach-based group, which received its dispensation April 8, is the third Spanish–English bilingual lodge within the Grand Lodge of California. Just as with Maya No. 793 and Panamericana No 513, Pilares will confer degrees in both Spanish and English. Crucially, though, Pilares has been granted permission to “exemplify” the first three degrees of the Scottish Rite, as is common in Latin American countries. (The California ritual, on the other hand, is based on the craft degrees of the York Rite.)
The exemplifications are unofficial. But leaders of the new lodge say the ability to study and perform them at all will be a powerful draw for Latin American members and interested Latinos in Southern California. “For Masons coming from Latin America to the United States, they want to learn and they’re eager to get into lodges,” says Gabriel Lopez, the senior warden of the new lodge. Many such prospects wind up in “irregular” lodges that practice the Scottish Rite degrees.
Even beyond the new degrees offerings, Pilares is part of a larger trend in California of better catering to Latino candidates. In addition to Pilares, another four lodges—in Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, and Los Molinos (north of Chico)—are in early stages of development. In each case, leaders of the proposed lodges are planning to be bilingual in Spanish and English.
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