John Paul Jones is probably the best known Naval figure of the Revolutionary War. He was born John Paul (The Jones was added later in America) in Kirkeudbright Scotland on July 6, 1747.
I quickly receive a response from Brother Loayza, connecting me with Brother Stifelmann who assisted with arrangements for my visitation. This was no small undertaking; there are over 300 Lodges in the city of San Paulo! Brother Stifelmann located a Lodge near my hotel where many of the Brethren spoke English and who would be happy to receive me as a guest.
Upon my arrival in Brazil, it was apparent that the famous traffic I have heard so much about was not an exaggeration and the size of the city was an impressive sight; the city is home to over 12 million residents. As with any city, there are risks for the unfamiliar traveler and I found the surroundings somewhat intimidating. These feelings quickly abated when my visitation experience began.
On the night of my visitation to David Iampolsky Lodge #145, the Venerable Master, Milton Wajman, personally picked me up at my hotel and brought me directly to his Lodge. During the ride we had a great conversation comparing similarities and differences between Masonry in our perspective countries. It was during this time that I became aware of just how amazing Masonry is; how could I explain to a non-Mason that I traveled to a foreign country, jumped into a car with a person I had never meet, was driven to an unknown destination, felt completely safe, and shared an instant bond!
Upon my arrival at the Lodge, I immediately felt at home with the familiar surroundings of the checkered floor and the furniture of the Lodge. As Brethren arrived I was introduced as a visiting Brother from the US and I was treated with the kindness and respect that an ambassador would receive.
We soon became properly dressed in our Masonic aprons and Yamaka’s (this was a Jewish Lodge). Upon commencement of the meeting, the lights were all turned down with the exception of lesser lights located at each of the senior officer’s stations.
Experiencing Lodge in a dimly lit room was new for me and enhanced the experience significantly. Since the ritual was performed entirely in Portuguese, I could not understand the words; however my experience with Masonry provided a familiarity with the spirit of the ritual, as any Brother would attest.
When a Brother spoke in Lodge, they would stand and hold the Due Guard of a Master Mason until they were done speaking. The flow of the conversation was similar to any well governed lodge with spirited discussion, sometimes disagreement, but always respect for each other’s views, even if the views were from opposing perspectives.
Towards the end of the meeting, I was introduced as an honored guest, presented a certificate of visitation, was informed that I was welcome there anytime in the future, and received the honorary “Three Hugs”. In return, I presented the three senior officers with the official lapel pin of the Grand Lodge of Illinois.
Afterwards I was taken to a Brazilian Pizza restaurant where we shared beer and pizza, my favorite was topped with Brazilian wild pork and had a tinge of Barbeque flavoring, most tasty. I also tried a traditional Brazilian papaya desert with a topping of crème liquor that was so good, I ordered it every night that I dinned out for the rest of my stay!
During our dinner conversation, I noticed Bother Jacobo Kogan had a Masonic label pin on that I had never seen before; it looked like an Acacia branch, he confirmed it to be so. When I expressed that I liked it, he took it off and insisted several times that I take it as a gift. It’s now my favorite pin, it reminds me of the true spirit of Brotherly Love demonstrated by his gesture of kindness and the wonderful experience I had visiting his lodge.
This was my first out of country visitation! I cannot emphasize enough what a truly rewarding experience it was. To be welcome in a lodge as family, over 5000 miles from home, in a foreign country by Brethren of a different religion is exemplary of Freemasonry. If I weren’t a Mason, I might have visited Brazil and missed this truly unique experience of our worldwide fraternity. It is an honor and a privilege to be a Master Mason.
Palatine Lodge #314
Photo Left to Right:
R.W.B. Sidnei Stifelmann-Grand Lodge of Illinois Representative to the Grand Lodge of Sao Paulo
R.W.B. John Loayza, Assistant Grand Chancellor of Illinois
Bro. Fernando Luiz Fernandes from Obreiros do Cerrado Lodge No. 3627, Rondonopolis, Mato Grosso, Brasil
Bro. Gordon Grahovac from Vrhovac Lodge No. 14, Zagreb, Croatia
R.W.B. Thomas Kleiner, Grand Lodge of Illinois Representative for the Grand Lodge of Croatia
R.W.B. Domenico Mancini, Assistant Grand Chancellor of Illinois
Bro. Fernandes was in the USA on business and visiting various cities while Bro. Grahovac, a neurosurgeon, has a fellowship at the Laurie Children's Hospital and intends to be visiting more lodges in the Chicago area during the next year.
Our Grand Lodge Representative and Grand Chancellery Programmes have been successfully promoting relationships between USA and International Masonic Jurisdictions for many years.
Click to download
There is no one of the symbols of Speculative Masonry more important in its teachings, or more interesting in its history, than the lambskin, or white leather apron...