Masons’ Night at the Museum
Having visited lodges in 50 states and 13 countries, it is with no small amount of weight that I say: Tonight, I attended one of the most incredible displays of Masonic fellowship and esoteric skill in the world.
Bellaire Lodge #1336’s Worshipful Master Donnie Lopez assembled a team of Houston area Masons to perform an extraordinary Master’s degree in the Houston Museum of Natural Science. This was the third annual such event and you can tell it has been years in development. How lucky we are as Texas Masons to have a Past Grand Master, Brian Dodson, who is able to make the use of such a cool venue possible. With ancient fossils and skeletons surrounding us, about 100 men welcomed Texas’ newest Master Mason, Devon Churillo, into Ancient Free and Accepted Masonry.
Humble Lodge 979’s Past Master Ken Young provided an extraordinary lecture with meaningful, heartfelt delivery. In fact, every member of the degree team put forth inspiring effort. Even Brother Aaron Tyksinski of Sugarland Lodge 1141 did his best work and made sure the night would be unforgettable for the candidate. Also in attendance was Brother Albert Pinto, who grew up in Waco and started his Masonic career at George N. Denton Lodge where my greatgrandfather became a Mason.
It happens that this event took place on a special Masonic museum anniversary. 97 years ago today, the oldest museum in Texas, Brother John Strecker’s “Collection of Curiosities” was nearly lost due to a fire at the Carroll Library of Baylor University which then housed the museum’s contents. Incredibly, news articles later explained that students were running IN to the building in hopes of saving the artifacts belonging to their beloved professor and mentor, Brother John Strecker. Their efforts were not in vain and today the museum is housed in the Mayborn Center near the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas. On display there, you can see the Scottish Rite ring of Brother Strecker. You can read more about John Strecker here: www.wacomasonic.org/john-strecker
All this to cap off a great trip with my best friend and Waco 92’s Worshipful Master, Dave McHam, a trip that saw us go to Laredo Lodge 547 where Brothers Anthony Ceballo and Ruben Bazàn III invited me to come and present my program about the history of Egyptian Mysticism and Freemasonry. Oncr again, the men of Laredo proved to be some of the best Masonic hosts on planet Earth. The trip also included a stop at Portland Lodge near Corpus Christi where we met a bright-eyed new Brother who was just initiated at the age of 18 two months ago. While there, we happened upon an enormous terrestrial globe on the beach dedicated to American veterans of the Global War on Terrorism.
And now, as I type this, Dave and I are on the road back to Waco, the capital of Texas Masonry, where we will have our stated meeting tomorrow night. Since it falls on Valentine’s Day this year, the Worshipful Master has commissioned a Jazz musician and we will honor the wives, widows, and daughters of the Lodge. After a trip such as this, one cannot help but be filled with enthusiasm and zeal for this great fraternity.