No 1045, District 25, Under The United Grand Lodge of New South Wales & ACT Australia [Views herein does not necessarily reflect those of LJR 1045 & UGL NSW & ACT.]

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The History of Lodge Jose Rizal 1045

"It is a useless life that is not consecrated to a great ideal.
It is like a stone wasted on the field without becoming part of any edifice."
                                               - Dr Jose P Rizal
The history of Lodge Jose Rizal is very much entwined with the history of the Filipino Freemasons Association of NSW Incorporated (or much better known as FilMasons Club).  It has always been one of the main aims of the FilMasons NSW Inc to organise a Lodge wherein the predominantly Filipino-Australian brethren can congregate and have fellowship.  The formation of a Filipino Lodge was a lifelong dream more than fifteen years ago by the founders of the “Club”.

On several monthly meetings and fellowship of the FilMasons, this idea was discussed, its merits debated and later on put into the “too-hard” basket.  Most of the members enjoy the social aspect, fellowship and informality of the Club.   They were  also active in their mother Lodges and other Masonic bodies; some  even  attaining higher rankings in their Districts and in the United Grand Lodge.

As they always do, great ideas resurface and on the early part of October 2008, there was “another” series of discussions regarding the formation of “Filipino Lodge” whose members would be predominantly of Filipino origin.  The FilMasons Association’s Immediate Past Presidents, WBro Fidel Pamplona and VWBro Manny  Maniago started the discussions on the possibility of a “Filipino Lodge”, under the  umbrella of The United Grand Lodge of New South Wales and The Australian Capital Territory (UGL NSW & ACT).

Maybe it was the right time or maybe the brethren are more supportive and more open to this idea, thus the movement grew rapidly.  Since then, various follow-up brainstorming, informal discussions and e-mails have circulated.  On the 20th of December 2008, FilMasons Christmas Party at WBro. Bobby Briones’ residence, some brethren finally decided to pursue their commitments, with courage  and dedication to form  this new lodge into a reality.  A decision was made that after the festive season, an  organising committee would be formed and invitations sent out to interested brethren to form the first “Filipino Lodge” in New South Wales, and the first of its kind in Australia.

The first official meeting of the organising committee was held at 7:00 PM, Sunday, 1st February 2009 at Dooley’s Catholic Club at Lidcombe, NSW.  The following brethren were present:  VWBro Manny Maniago PDGIW, WBro Fidel Pamplona, Bro Louie Reyes, Bro Manny Santos, Bro Manny Placido, Bro Mario Baylon Jnr., Bro Dan Elizes and Bro Rudy O’laco; together with their ladies.

VWBro Manny Maniago was elected Chairman; WBro Fidel Pamplona, Vice-Chairman; Bro Louie Reyes, Secretary; Bro Manny Santos, Treasurer and Bro Mario Baylon Jr., Publicity Officer.
District 32, Castle Hill Masonic Centre was chosen as the meeting place of the new lodge since there is no lodge with significant Filipino-Australian members there.  The Cedars Lodge No. 1041 was approached as the sponsoring lodge being also newly formed lodge.  Lodge Woronora No. 414 and VWBro. Antoine Georges, DGDC of the UGL of NSW & ACT Ceremonial Team have donated Masonic paraphernalia, collars and jewels for the new lodge.  VWBro. David Keelty, DGIW of District 32 volunteered to donate Masonic Bible and the Director of Ceremonies baton.

The brethren of FilMasons Victoria also volunteered to donate the gavels for the Worshipful Master and Wardens.  Sis Sen O’laco creatively drafted the first logo with square and compasses on the breast of Dr Jose Rizal.  WBro. Bobby Briones and  daughter, Nicole artistically added to the original design the Philippine and Australian flags as backgrounds, with the cable tow and lodge name bordered around it, as suggested by WBro Fidel Pamplona, WBro Rudy Romerosa, Bro Manny Placido and    others.  WBro Romy Nieto volunteered his services as LJR photographer.  And, last but not the least were all the brethren and sisters to whom in many ways offered their moral support and words of encouragement that this new lodge will prosper from generation to come.
The committee decided on the Philippines’ national hero Dr Jose Rizal as the name of the new lodge in a meeting on 29 March 2009.  Dr Jose Rizal seems to be the logical choice, as he is a Freemason, a traveler and an intellectual.  He is one of the very few national heroes in the world who did not led his country into a war of independence but rather advocated the transformation of the individual to benefit oneself and thereby transforming the society he is in.  He values education over blind action and died by firing squad for his revolutionary writings exposing the evils of society.

Rizal joined Masonry and was made a Master Mason in 15 November 1890 at Logia Solidaridad 53, in Madrid, Spain under the Gran Oriente de Espanol, adopting the Filipino Masonic name, Dimasalang (Touch Me Not).  He affiliated with a lodge under the jurisdiction of Grand Orient of France on 14 October 1891, and in Manila was made honorary Worshipful Master of Nilad Lodge No. 144 in 1892.

The foundation officers elected were VWBro Manny Maniago JGD, Worshipful Master Designate; WBro Fidel Pamplona SGD, Senior Warden Designate; and WBro Rudy Romerosa, as Junior Warden Designate.  The Grand Master, MW Bro Dr Gregory Henry Levenston JP approved the application and a charter was issued on 21 November 2009.  Lodge Jose Rizal 1045 was consecrated on 30th January 2010 with thirty-one Foundation Members.

From now on, it is considered desirable, therefore, that in order to preserve the tradition of the Lodge, we should, at least once a year at every Installation, publish this summary of event to inspire the brethren of LJR worthy to belong to this unique Lodge from many more generations to come.

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