Installation Address 2016
Hiram Lodge, No. 1
Installation January 10, 2016
Worshipful Master Remarks
WM Michael Calderone
Grand Lodge Officers, honored guests, Masons, friends, family, and Brothers of Hiram Lodge No. 1:
Thank you all for attending today’s Installation. It is a ceremony that Hiram Lodge No. 1 has been doing in New Haven since 1750 and I am honored and humbled to be elected your Worshipful Master for the year 2016.
Tonight I bring together the four great H’s of my life: My Brothers of Hiram Lodge No. 1, my Hopkins School colleagues, my Hamden friends and my family from home. For a long time I wanted to share this lodge that means so much to me to all of you who equally mean so much to me.
You may have picked up during the ceremony words encouraging us Freemasons to take the lessons we’ve learned through the fraternity into our daily lives in order to, “convince mankind of the goodness of our institution.” It is my sincere hope that you see that goodness today among my Brother Masons and is a reason why I invited you all here.
Now, I know that all of you at one point or another, in some way or another, asked me the question I’m sure many brothers have heard, “So...what exactly do you DO as a Mason?”
Masons will often say, “We make good men better.” But I don’t think that’s what non-Masons are asking; It’s too vague. Our Marshal, Bro. Ben Taylor, who is also a colleague of mine at Hopkins School, came up with a very realistic answer noting how Freemasonry is made up of many different men with varying experiences and worldviews saying, “We get together every week and do our best to get along.” While a more practical answer, I still don’t think it satisfies the question of the non-Mason.
To explain how I view Masonry I’m going to take a little detour:
You may have noticed that our Installing Officer, RWB Doug Gray and our most recent PM WB Tim Wilkins were wearing silk top hats as the Worshipful Master’s mark of distinction. And, you may be wondering why I am wearing a fedora. It is not for my Italian heritage. I wear this hat in honor of a Brother who, exactly 100 years ago this month, was installed as Hiram Lodge No. 1’s Senior Deacon for the year 1916. Brother Hiram Bingham III not only served the Lodge to the right of his Worshipful Master in the same position as our Bro. Cedric, here, he taught South American history at Yale, and became world famous as the explorer who made public the whereabouts of the lost Incan city, Machu Picchu in Peru five years earlier in 1911.
Bro. Bingham’s was a household name with fame on par with aviator, Charles Lindberg, Olympic athlete, Jim Thorpe, and professional baseball player, Ty Cobb (all Freemasons.) But like Bros. Lindberg and Cobb, Bro. Bingham had his flaws. His best qualities, however, as an explorer, a daring adventurer and a dedicated educator, were preserved in the making of an iconic movie character. Bro. Bingham, along with other dashing explorers and professors of the time, were synthesized into Harrison Ford’s iconic character we know today: Not Han Solo; but Indiana Jones.
I wanted to remind my Hiram Brothers and myself every week of those ideal qualities of Bro. Bingham: to explore what it is to be a good person; to dare oneself into the adventure of doing what is right in the face of doing what is easy; and to dedicate oneself to sharing one’s lessons with others in hopes that they, too, may become better people. In short: to make good men better and do our best to get along.
Therefore, I found this hat with the design name “The Temple” in honor of Indiana Jones’ second movie. I will wear it at every meeting as that reminder and will endeavor to spread Masonic enthusiasm and compassion to the local community.
Which leads me a shameless plug where Hiram Lodge No. 1 will be hosting an Indiana Jones Movie and Adventure night here at the Masonic Temple of Doom on February 27th to benefit the New Haven Ronald McDonald House. Along with the movie being shown under the stars in this very room, there will be adventure games and activities for children 12 and under. See the posters on your way out or go to our web site for more information.
Like this hat, we Freemasons look to symbols to remind us of the lessons we learn when we meet. Many symbols we use are the working tools of actual, or operative, stonemasons; the square and compasses, the level and the plumb; each with their own moral lesson. Bro. Bingham used a trowel to excavate the ruins of Machu Picchu, and stonemasons use it to spread cement; but as Freemasons the trowel reminds us to spread brotherly love and affection to everyone we meet. Again, this is why I am so happy to see you all here today.
I take on the responsibility of Worshipful Master with eagerness and thanks.
I am eager to strengthen the ties between the Lodge and our local charities. Beyond our annual giving, this year we will make personal contact with these organizations so those who benefit will be able to put a face with the donation. The community charity events include Farnam House, reviving the Chicken Challenge for the benefit of the Masonicare Quality of Life Fund and instituting a Master’s Choice Charity to be determined each year by the subsequent Worshipful Master. This year the Master’s Choice Charity, my choice, will benefit the Smilow Breast Cancer Center in honor of the great care they gave my family in 2012.
I am eager to build upon the solid foundation of Lodge education through our Mentor Program, the Hiram Library Committee, and presentations in Lodge by the Education Committee.
Finally, I am looking forward to use that trowel, digging deep into the Hiram 1 archives with the Historians and Archive Committee to preserve and bring to light aspects and artifacts of our proud 266 year heritage in New Haven and Freemasonry.
My thanks go to the Past Masters of Hiram Lodge No. 1 who, through their example, showed me what Masonic leadership is; to my Brothers who traveled with me on this journey sharing your friendship and Brotherly love; to my colleagues from Hopkins and friends from Hamden who share the troubles and joys of both work and raising our families; and most of all to my family.
To my girls: Emily, Rebecca and Molly - I love you so much and am so proud of how you learn, how you express yourselves artistically, and most of all how much you love each other.
Finally, in the greatest spot of honor, I thank my wife, Jennifer. Thank you for understanding how important Freemasonry is to me; thank you for granting the time away from home to work in the Lodge; thank you for being the amazing mother you are; and most of all, thank you for saying yes twenty-two years ago. I can’t do this without you and I promise the time I spend here will come back to you a hundredfold with me as a better man and husband.
Knowing that this address is one of the last big hurdles to overcome between the ceremony and dinner, I will end with a simple thank you and my sincere hope that I serve this lodge well. Thank you.