Brethren and Friends:
WOW! If you missed the Valley's Holiday Celebration Dinner last Friday evening, you missed a fantastic night. The meal was very good, the fellowship with the Brethren, Ladies and Children's Dyslexia Center Staff was great. From the comments I received at the event and in the days following, everyone had an enjoyable evening. With the Auctions, some nice money was raised to support the efforts of the Children's Dyslexia Center too. Thanks to everyone who participated!
I received some sad news yesterday. Our Past Commander-in-Chief, Ill. Charles H. Myers, 33, has been sent home from the hospital and placed in hospice care. Illustrious Bro. Chuck and Lady Shirley have been dedicated members of our Valley and Ladies Auxiliary respectively. Chuck is a great Masonic leader, he has served our Valley and his Lodge to the highest of standards. Please keep both him and Shirley in your prayers during this most difficult time.
Our Jewish Brethren and their families are currently celebrating Hanukkah or "the Festival of Lights," to them we say, "Happy Hanukkah and best wishes of the Season!"
Even though we're in the midst of the Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year Season, believe it or not our 2012 Spring Reunion is right around the corner.
Our Commander-in-Chief, Ill. Raymond G. Brown, 33, has announced that our Spring Class will be named in memory of Ill. Armando M. Duran, 33. This is a great way to honor our late beloved Brother.
Armando was supposed to receive his 33rd Degree this past August in Chicago, he received it posthumously in February when he died. It is the tradition of the Valley's 33rd Degree Members to call the nominees and congratulate them on the day they are elected to receive the Degree. When we called Armando, I think I was almost as excited for him as he was about receiving the news. I will never forget the joy in his voice. He couldn't believe that anyone would have ever considered him for the honor. In speaking with him that evening I assured him that everything he had done in the fraternity was noticed and that he was making an impact in our Valley. To have him pass away so suddenly seemed so unfair. I know that the Lord has His reasons for things that we are not intended to know, but I cannot help but think that although Armando missed his 33rd Degree conferral, naming this Class in his memory is probably the best way to honor him. Remembering his happy response to the news of his impending 33rd Degree, I know our Brother is beside himself in Heaven over this news.
Petitions have already started to come in for this Class and that's good news. As you know, I always say I don't think we have a "successful" Class until we have at least 20 petitions, well, I'm going to amend that for this Class. For this Class I would like to see 35 or more Candidates. Why? Well besides the fact that Armando was a friend of mine and I truly want this Class to honor his memory in the best way possible, Armando was the first line recommender of 33 Valley members. So we'll need 33 Candidates to match our Illustrious Brother's efforts, plus two additional Candidates, one to replace ourselves and one for the continued growth of the Valley.
All of us who had the pleasure of knowing our Illustrious Brother knew a fine man and a great Scottish Rite Mason. His sudden and unexpected loss left a void in our Valley and a hurt in our hearts that is still needs time to heal. Let each of us go forward with a determined effort to insure that this Class not only deserves to be named in his memory, but honors that memory as well.
Our State Deputy, Ill. Russell W. Baker, 33 has asked me to take on the duty of web master of the Council of Deliberation. As web master of the Valley's web site (http://www.philascottishrite.org/) I don't mind telling folks that I am a novice at building web sites, when Russ asked me build a new site for the COD, I was both shocked and flattered. The current site, http://www.pa32nddegreemasons.com/ will be coming down on the first of the year and the new site http://www.pacod.us/ will take its place. The new site is currently online if you wish you give it a glance. It is not official yet, as Illustrious Brother Russ is still giving it the look over to see if he wants any changes or additions. Trying to remain humble, I think that this is a fine honor for our Valley and I hope that my efforts do all of us justice. I am proud to be a Scottish Rite Mason and prouder still to be a member of the Valley of Philadelphia.
The Masonic Temple will be closing early tomorrow, and I will be on vacation until Tuesday, January 3, 2012.
I want to wish all of you and your families a very Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukkah and of course a healthy and Happy New Year.
May the Grand Architect shine His blessings down on all of you and your families in this coming new year.
God Bless Illustrious Bro. Chuck.
Sincere fraternal regards,
Steven A. Morrison, 33