W.M.'s letter to the Lodge 1999
Premier Lodge of Connaught, No.14 Galway
69 Prospect Hill,
As every Past Master knows, the time in the chair passes in a flash. I am delighted to report that it has been a most successful and fruitful year masonically. It is interesting to note that for the first time in the memory of everyone in the Lodge (including Bro. Carpenter !) all six Offices from I.G. to W.M. are held by Brethren for the first time, although Bro. Dooley (J.D.) has been through the chair in Australia. This is a great indication of the vitality of the Lodge and that masonry is thriving in its own modest way in Galway.
The highlight of the year was our return visit to our "Twin" Lodge 225 in Dundee. Some 30 Brethren and wives flew over from Dublin. The interesting thing was that Brethren from Athlone and Roscrea joined us. The Dundee Brethren arranged entertainment, a dance and meals for us in various' clubs attached to the Lodges. I hope to be able to include some digital photographs taken during the trip. At a Masonic meeting in their impressive Lodge room we demonstrated the working' of a 2nd degree according to Irish Ritual. A focus of the visit was a trip to Rosslyn Chapel. The chapel has many Masonic connections in its construction, its carvings and history, too numerous to record here. Some of the members have a short video of the chapel and its history. If anyone is interested to look at this video the secretary will arrange its delivery.
There is no better way to broaden and cement friendships than to spend a weekend away in a convivial atmosphere. This was demonstrated on a more local scale by an outing on the Shannon organised by the Athlone Lodges. A large boat catering for dinner parties was hired and over 60 Brethren, wives, widows and non-Masonic friends' took the trip. Between courses many took a break and went up on deck to see the sunset as the boat weaved its way between the islands. After the meal there was music and dancing on board. The success of this was due to the effort of a few Brethren in Athlone.
The message I derive from these two events outside the ritual of the Lodge is that we need to do more of this than we did in the past. If we confine ourselves to just turning up for meetings many members will fade away. I personally know of a few members who have resigned over the years who felt that the Lodge was just a talking shop with only boring ritual repeated at every meeting. The foregoing events show that this is changing. The unique good you will get from an organisation is directly equivalent to the effort that one is prepared to put into it! A thriving and active Lodge is ultimately the responsibility of its members.
Last year you will remember that we placed a Masonic plaque on the outside wall of the Lodge room in order to project a higher profile. This year we have put an entry in the telephone book under Freemasons' Hall. I am sure we have missed many visitors by not being readily accessible. In the light of this the most important means of contact in the future will be through a Website on the computer. The work on the web page is well under way, and the initial format was shown to members after the January meeting. It is hoped to have it completed during February for presentation to P.G.L. and G.L. for. approval so that it can be posted on the web later this year. Many thanks to Bob and Robert Chapple who have done most of the work.
Our tenant in the downstairs room withdrew during the year and after a three month search and lost rent we found another occupant. A committee has been formed to consider badly needed renovations to the Lodge room.
The Grand Master has an important project this year to raise 2000 pence (£20) from every member for his MILLENIUM APPEAL for Masonic charities. This is a small way to mark the Jubilee year. I would exhort each member to try and forward £20 during the year, preferably with their dues. Members of more than one Lodge need only respond to one Lodge. (Try and make it Lodge 14 ! )
We have had no new members this year although Bro. McCamley received his 3rd degree in February. It is with great sadness that we saw the passing of two Brethren Bro. Reg Catchpole died suddenly in January of a heart attack. He had just resigned from Office (S.D.) as he was about to move to Meath to be near his family. Bro. Jim Pilling who had recently moved to England to be near his family, died in December after a long battle with a blood disorder. Both were conscientious, active and regular attenders and they are greatly missed.
At our January 2000 meeting I had the great pleasure to install Bro. Jim Houghton as W.M. and I wish him a happy and fruitful year in Office.
Walter E. de Lacy W.M. Lodge. 14 1999
W.M.'s letter to the Lodge 1998
THE PREMIER LODGE OF CONNAUGHT, No. 14
69 PROSPECT HILL
It is now the custom in No 14 for the out-going W.M. to review his year in Office, so here goes:-
The year was a busy and unique one for the Lodge. I was honoured to be installed for the second time (first in 1976) as W.M. at our January meeting. My installation dinner was held in March in the Oranmore Lodge Hotel with 26 Brethren and guests attending. During the year we were pleased to welcome one new Brother, Trevor McCamley into the Order and we had one affiliation Bro. Paul Scriven from the U.S.A. We wish them both long and happy times with us.
Thanks to an anonymous donor the Masonic Emblem was placed on the front wall of the Lodge in May and is now in full view to all passers by.
At our May meeting we were joined by Officers of Armor Lodge 197 from L'Orient of the Grande Loge Nationale Francaise led by WB Patric Beretti, France. During the meeting a twinning ceremony took place and the visitors presented the Lodge with a Twinning Charter, Medal and Plate to mark the occasion. In conjunction with the French visit we held a ladies night in Galway Golf Club. Traditional fayre and music were the order of the evening and an enjoyable night was had by all.
In October we were joined by 30 Brethren from Forfar & Kincardine Lodge No 225 of the Grand Lodge of Scotland for a weekend led by WB. Willie Donnachie . On Saturday morning we held an Irish Coffee morning in the Lodge room. In the afternoon we held an emergency meeting in the Salthill Hotel. This was indeed an unique occasion for Lodge 14 with over 80 Brethren including P.G.L. Officers and Brethren from all over Ireland as well as our Scottish visitors in attendance. The Brethren of Lodge 225 treated us to a demonstration of a First Degree according to the Scottish Constitution(at the highest level of working) which was thoroughly enjoyed by all present. That night a Ladies night was held in the Hotel at which all present wined, dined and danced to the full.
In passing I would like to acknowledge the help given to us by Lodge No 13 Limerick and No 789 Tartaraghan in entertaining our visitors. In September Lodge 14 visited our other Twin Lodge No 217 Ballina.
As you can see Brethren a busy yet highly enjoyable year, and now we look forward to visiting Scotland in 1999 and France in 2000.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who helped in any way to make 1998 such a successful year. As a result we were in a position to donate £120 to our Almoner, £200 to West of Ireland Alzheimer's Association and £280 to our P.G.M. fund. Well Done All.
At our January 1999 meeting I had the great pleasure to install V.W. Bro. W. De Lacy as W.M. and I wish him a happy and fruitful year in Office.
Finally let me say how much we enjoy hearing from you Brethren who are absent from our shores but continue to support us. We offer our sincere congratulations to WB Cole on reaching his 65year in masonry having been initiated in St. Patrick's Lodge no 8 Cork in December 1934 and more recently for the honour bestowed on Irish Masonry and himself by the dedication last year of a dining room in the Lodge premises at Auch in France of SALLE DE L'IRLANDAIS
A Happy Masonic Year to you All.
W.M.'s letter to the Lodge 1997
PREMIER LODGE OF CONNAUGHT, No.14 GALWAY
Once again it is that time in the Lodge 14 calendar when new Officers are installed and the outgoing WM is faced with the task of compiling his account of the previous year. I am sure that other Past Masters will agree with me when I say that my year in Office seems to have passed in a flash, and that I find myself leaving with many tasks uncompleted. I know however that I also inherited projects from my predecessor. Some ideas take years to come to fruition and it is the Lodge itself which provides the continuity needed to see them through.
The commencement of my term of Office also marked the end of the GM's Festival. This was billed as a major fund raising effort and we certainly rose to the challenge, with our Province near the top of the list for fund raising per capita. The bottle drop proved of great interest and provided me with more work than I had expected. I am ashamed to admit that I still have to issue certificates to those whose bottles were recovered. To partly make amends for this, I have enclosed a list of recovered bottles, so that Brethren can answer enquiries from those who contributed. There was some concern that "charity fatigue" might set in after all our efforts. Attempts have been made to organise inter-Lodge bowling nights, but these have met with little success, for reasons which I suspect are connected more with the physical than the financial state of Lodge members! We were more successful in organising a pub quiz for members and friends. This took place in November and raised £60 for the local Alzheimer support group thanks largely to the efforts of our favourite quizmaster R W Bro. Hackett. Events such as this serve another purpose: they are social occasions to which Brethren can invite partners and friends. I hope that those who enjoy them will come forward with suggestions for similar events. The instigation of the Masonic Welfare Fund has provided another opportunity for us to exercise our charitable instincts. Brethren were asked to consider becoming Patrons and I am glad to say that several members of Lodge 14 have taken the plunge. This is a most worthy cause, which is designed to provide Masonic relief in cases not covered by the existing charities. If by any chance you do not know how to subscribe, please contact myself or the Lodge secretary. Whilst on the subjects of "Brotherly love" and "relief" I would like to sincerely thank VW Bro. Fenton, who has recently resigned from the post of Lodge Almoner. This is a time-consuming and sometimes difficult task but of fundamental importance. Our thanks should also go to Bro. Houghton who has volunteered to take over. I know that he would like me to ask you to let him, (or the Secretary) know of any isolated Brethren who would appreciate a visit.
One major event this year has been the retirement of RW Bro. Hackett from the Office of PGM. The large number of Brethren attending his retirement banquet ranged in rank from the GM down and came from all corners of Ireland, a fitting tribute to the esteem in which he is held throughout the order. PGL's loss is our gain and I know that we will not allow Bob to be idle! Our new PGM (RW Bro. Hugh Milling) has a hard act to follow, but there is every indication that he will prove a worthy successor. I am please to report that since his installation he has visited the Lodge twice, and we look forward to seeing him again at our installation dinner. The under-representation of Lodge 14 amongst the Officers of Provincial Grand Lodge has been, till now, the unavoidable consequence of a shortage of "new" Past-Masters. I am the first of these for some time and I know that there are several to follow in the coming years.
A subject which is dear to the heart of the ex-PGM is that of communication and the exchange of visitors between Lodges, not only within the Province, but between Provinces and Constitutions. With this in mind it is pleasing to note the regular appearance of visitors at our Stated Communications. It is an unusual meeting if we do not salute them. Groups have attended from Lodge 13 (Limerick), Lodge 101 (Athlone), Lodge 217 (Ballina) Lodge 284 (Bangor) and (of course!) Lodge 789 (Tartaraghan), and we have been visited by individual Brethren from other Provinces and countries, including America, and England. Some have clearly enjoyed their visits, so we now have Affiliates from almost every continent: Australia (Bro. Dooley), America (Bro. Marsh), Europe (Bro. Shiel) and Asia (Bro. Patel). Arrangements for twinning with two overseas Lodges are beginning to take shape. They are located in Scotland (Forfar and Kincardine Lodge 235) and Brittany (Armor Lodge 197 in l'Orient). Brethren were concerned over problems of communication with our Breton colleagues, since none of us will admit to anything but (very) basic French. This concern is not shared by the French Brethren who are already seeking the locations of suitable pubs, greyhound tracks and hurling matches for their visit in May.
1997 has been a year of losses and gains in membership. Whilst numbers hold more or less constant it is gratifying to see the spread of ages amongst members. A mixture of enthusiasm and experience is certainly a good thing! It is sad to report the loss of Brethren through death and resignation. In the past year Brothers Millar and Costello have passed on to their eternal reward. I also have to report the passing of George Clarke, who though he had resigned shortly before his death, was remembered with respect as a staunch member of the Lodge. I am glad to report one initiate this year. Bro. Chapple was initiated in May and is shortly to be raised to the 3rd Degree. As a result we have (possibly for the first time, but certainly within living memory) a father and son (both Bob Chapple) in Lodge l4 together. We now have a policy of dividing the work of degrees up amongst members and it has been gratifying to see the willingness of Brethren, particularly those not long in the order, to play their part. Thus, for the first degree, Bro. Chapple senior was able to act as conductor for his son, and the working tools were explained by Bro. Arendt. who had only received his third degree the previous autumn. I would have liked to report more first degrees in my year of Office but I am consoled by the knowledge that there are several prospects who may well be balloted for in the next few months.
A recent innovation in Lodge has been to set aside a short time for a discussion, led by one of the Brethren, on some aspect of Freemasonry. So far we have discussed the aims of Freemasonry and the reasons why Brethren joined and continued in the Order. The latter impressed all those present by the quality of the discussion. RW Bro. Hackett also gave a presentation on the other degrees under the Irish constitution, which taught everyone something new. How many Brethren knew of the degree of Intimate Secretary?
Financially, the Lodge is in better shape now that we have downstairs tenants (the Students Union of Ireland) who pay us a regular rent. We have also considerably reduced our insurance premiums by shopping around A Square and Compasses have been carved by a local (operative) mason and will shortly be installed over the door to the premises. There has been some discussion over the possibility of building an extension to the rear for social purposes. This would be great asset to the Lodge but must be considered carefully because of the financial implications.
The chair is now in the capable hands of W Bro. Hill. I wish him every success but finish by reminding members of Lodge 14 that he can do little without your support. A thriving and active Lodge is ultimately your responsibility.
John Patching WM Lodge 14 l997
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