Congratulations to you for making the 183rd Annual Communication a great success, it is pleasing to see so many Brothers at the headquarter hotel, to lookout from the dais and see all the Brothers representing their respective Lodges and Districts, is awesome feeling.
For those of you that were able to stay for the Installation of Grand Lodge Officers, we thank you for your attendance on behalf of the Installing Officers, the Elected & Appointed Grand Lodge Officers, District Deputy Grand Masters and District Instructors, for those that travel just for the installation, your display of support was overwhelming, and we thank you.
On a personal note, thank you for allowing me the privilege and opportunity to serve you as your Grand Master. Masonry is a universal society, where men from all walks of life, from different ethnicities, religions, social status, and origin of birth come together as a Brotherhood of men under the Fatherhood of God, to glorify the true and ever living God “The Great Architect of the Universe” who we give praise for all our blessings and place all our trust, and is such an important part of our Country that is in our Nation’s motto “In God We Trust”, and this year is inscribed in the Grand Master’s pins because I have placed my trust in Him as all of you have.
Nothing worth having is either free or without hard work and perseverance, our Fraternity is no different, your love of Fraternity is commensurate with the time and fortune you are willing to dedicate to it. This Fraternity encourages me to drive myself harder, to work longer, and to give more time and wealth to make sure this Institution remains the Premier Fraternity in the World.
My Brothers, our Country’s way of life, like our Fraternity, is always a generation away from extinction, it always has been dependent on those who are willing to sacrifice, to secure our principles and tenants for posterity. In other words, my Brothers, on our shoulders rests the future of our Fraternity, we will not hesitate, we, my Brothers, will make a difference, and we will continue the legacy. “Be A Leader; Make It Happen.”
We who have been charged with the trust of our Fraternity are the servants and keepers of our Brothers, and I personally take this commitment very seriously and I charge you to do so as well. Today we have taken yet another obligation and swore to live up to them in front of family, friends, and Brothers but most importantly in the presence of Almighty God; I pray he gives us the strength, wisdom, and perseverance to accomplish our goals.
We are Masons who have voluntarily accepted certain obligations, made commitments, and have recognized the responsibilities which come with our new roles as leaders of the Fraternity. We will prioritize, we will sacrifice, and we will make sure that our Brethren’s needs are met.
My Brothers, through presentations in my travels, my articles on the website and in The Florida Mason, together with the Discourses I have laid out how important this Fraternity is to me, I have touched every aspect of this Fraternity that I consider to be important to make a difference for the benefit our Craft.
We started to lay the ground work two years ago. Masonic Leadership Training thus far has been a resounding success and those that have participated in the programs, have by better than 98% expressed their satisfaction, and had wished it had been available to them before. We need to continue to take this program to more Brothers as we are trying to reach every corner of the State; in the future it may be available on the internet as courses for those interested in expanding their knowledge and education in the comfort of their home.
Masonic Education has always been of great importance because together with Masonic Leadership we can make the difference between making members and creating Masons. We will continue to expand the material available, it is our goal to have many more lessons created to expand the Brethren’s horizon and assist the Lodges with the mentoring system.
We have discussed the assistance to the Lodges and here, my Brothers, we have excelled in some areas and fallen short in others. Our Grand Secretary, assisted at times by the Grand Treasurer, has conducted training seminars for the Secretaries and Treasurers across the State for the past two years, and the results have been outstanding, I know I have attended several of them myself. The Masonic Leadership Training for those Masters, Wardens, and Brothers that have attended has also been a success. However, we have fallen short on following up with the individual needs of the Lodges according to the DDGM Reports. This year we will try to address this situation, my Brothers, there is no sense in having all of these State, Zone, and District Chairmen if they cannot offer the assistance needed to the Lodges and bring their needs to a successful resolution.
We have the mechanism in place to provide the assistance needed, if they want it; however, it is incumbent upon us to be proactive in making them aware that help, aid, and assistance is truly there for the asking. We will reach out to any Brother and Lodge wanting to improve himself or themselves, and I pledge to you my utmost desire to assist you personally or through any of the Brothers on the Local, Zone, or State level. Your aspiration to succeed, to attain more knowledge, to become better men and Masons is my call to action and I pledge to your need the willingness of those who are part of the 2012 Team to make it happen for you.
We know we must be tested, and I hope you do just that. Every member of this team must be committed to assisting their Brethren, we don’t want badge wearers, we want workers, we don’t want talkers, we want performers, we don’t want tomorrow, we want when, where, and now. This is the commitment I bring to you, the Craft, on behalf of the 2012 team. Your need is our number one priority.
We will also assist you in working on your membership, in a society were two is always better than one, and where bigger is better than smaller and where quantity is often confused with quality we must have an attitude adjustment.
In our history as early as the 1840’s with just having lost a Lodge at the very infancy of our Grand Lodge a Past Grand Master said “We are growing too fast, what we need is quality and not quantity.” My Brothers, membership cannot be measured by quantity, membership must be measured by quality, it was measured by quality at our start, in our tenets and in our lessons; however, someplace along the line we started equating Masonry with the same principles used by the civilized world during the Industrial Revolution where we needed the warm bodies in order to build and maintain magnificent edifices with lesser involvement from the membership in essence splitting the cost of the development.
Many of the Brothers that cannot participate in the Lodge will be willing to give more to the Lodges since, for reasons known only to them, they cannot be more active in our communications, activities, and fundraisers. However, we continue subsidizing those Brothers by keeping our dues low, yet we do all the work, attend all the dinners, give to the charity basket, help the needy Brother or widow at a much higher cost than that of increasing the dues to cover the normal expenses of the Lodge. Most important we continue to give our most precious asset, our time.
We can help the Lodges’ membership in the following ways:
1. Endowing our Lodges to assist our posterity in the continuation of our Fraternity.
2. To maintain the endowment current, that we do not become a burden on the Lodge’s finances.
3. That we increase our fees for the Three Degrees.
4. That we increase our dues commensurate with the Lodge expenses and that we expend wisely.
5. That we support our fundraisers for charitable purposes not for the operation of the Lodge.
Remember that it is easier to maintain a member than it is to get one, start taking care of your members by calling on them on a regular basis, on the first call you may have to explain the reasons why, the follow-ups will be self-explanatory, but it will be a member building effort and demonstrate that we are a Band of Brothers concerned for their welfare, and interested in how they are doing, while living to our commitment of Brotherhood.
Do not ever give up on a Brother, walk the last mile for him. Let the departure be of his making not of ours. Together we can make a difference “Be a Leader; Make it happen”.
My Brothers, we are as strong as our least informed Brother, if we are truly an order that takes good men and makes them better, we must raise the level of education, the enthusiasm with which we deliver it, and the resolution of our actions.
There are so many dreams, so many aspirations, so many hopes for a better Fraternity, there are so many paths that we can choose to make a difference, so many opportunities to explore, to make this Noble Craft better and greater, than when we came into it. However, the only way we will find the roads to success is through education and knowledge.
In closing My Brothers, ye be of open mind, embrace change, it is the only thing that is constant in all our lives, always look for what is the best for all of the Fraternity, and we will be the better for it. Let us walk side by side together we can make it happen. This Band of Brothers should always remember the motto of our country “In God we Trust”, let he who knowest all, be our guide and our inspiration, with him everything is possible, “Be A Leader; Make It Happen”
I want to once again thank you for all the support you have given me and these Grand Lodge Officers. May God Bless all of you, our Fraternity, our Servicemen and Women wherever dispersed, and May God Bless the greatest Country known to mankind, the United States of America.
Your Humble Servant and Brother,
Jorge L. Aladro