MGM, A HIDDEN TREASURE!
What is MGM? What does MGM stands for? Is it like any other Masonic group? Who are the members of this group? I remember a few Brothers thought that the events, festivities and fellowships are held at MGM Las Vegas! Upon learning more about MGM, they said, they will not miss attending the next one. Sadly, there are still many Brothers who have doubts on attending MGM events, shaking their heads and comparing MGM to a social club in the past. They do not know what they are missing. Again, to our less informed Brethren, MGM stands for “Manlalakbay na Gurong Mason”, English translation: “Traveling Master Masons”. It is not a group nor like any other Masonic group. For it has no elected officers and membership dues, no governing by-laws, no initiation and special grips nor passwords and secrets. MGM festivities is a combination of a Saturday Lodge special conferral of the Third Degree under Grand Lodge of California Ritual; a celebration of the candidate’s raising to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason and may be considered a Lodge fund raising event. Part of the proceeds from previous MGM were donated to the Philippines Disaster Relief Fund, Shriners Hospital for children, Grand Master’s projects and to deserving youth groups. Members of the Craft from different California Lodges proficiently labored in the Lodge and witnessed by Master Masons in good standing on the sidelines. The first MGM event was held at (I) Atascadero Lodge #493 on December 3, 2011 followed by MGM events held at (II) Monterey Lodge #217 (February 11, 2011); (III) Bakersfield Lodge #224 (June 12, 2012); (IV) Granada Hills Lodge #378 (October 13, 2012); (V) Acacia Lodge #49, North Las Vegas, NV (March 23, 2013); (VI) Pittsburg Lodge #429 (August 10, 2013); (VII) Silvergate Three Stars Lodge #296 (March 8, 2014); (VIII) Anacapa Lodge #710 (June 28, 2014); (IX) East San Diego Lodge #561 (September 13, 2014); (X) Torrance University Lodge #394 (April 18, 2015) and (XI) Acacia Lodge #243 (August 8, 2015).
Each MGM event had its own character and uniqueness, according to many of those who have attended two or more or all MGMs. Though they differed from each other, yet the camaraderie of the Brethren, the fellowships and the purpose was the same. The first MGM was born at Atascadero Lodge #493, the candidate was raised with the presence of his father from the Philippines and was witnessed by a number of Brothers from different Lodges. After two more MGMs, the affair had to be more organized and host Lodges paid more attention to details as attendance has continually grown in numbers. On my first MGM, (IX) East San Diego Lodge #561, I remembered being excited to attend and not knowing what to expect, I experienced indescribable joy while wearing my first MGM T-shirt and lanyard, drinking socially with Brethren, seeing ear to ear smiles from new and old familiar faces, lots of fraternal grips from Kuyangs and Brothers, witnessing a solemn third degree conferral and continuous partying and picture takings during the whole weekend. The highlights of the event included the raising of the candidate by RW John R. Heisner, Past Master of Amity Lodge #442 and 2014 Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of California who admirably labored as King Solomon. Attendance: More than 400 Master Masons and X numbers of family and friends from more than 60 different lodges from the U.S. and abroad.
At the following MGM, (X)Torrance University Lodge #394, my excitement was heightened by my participation on the conferral of the Third Degree at the historic Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. It was attended by Master Masons from 53 different Masonic Lodges. At MGM Torrance, the candidate was the eldest son of the Lodge Worshipful Master and the degree conferral was held on “stage” at the Shrine Auditorium, which housed 6,300 seats. As a performer, the feeling was awesome, wishing it was on tape or television. The Brothers and Sisters of Torrance University Lodge #394, with the help from Artesia Sunrise Lodge #377 and other Lodges who pioneered this event, provided their hospitality to the Brethren from near and afar with sumptuous merienda or snacks and never running out of “lechon” meals (roast whole pig).
For the candidate, the impressive ceremony and the attendance of the Brethren from the U.S. and abroad, his raising to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason was more memorable. After the Lodge was closed, a Bible Presentation and three different charges were relayed to the newly raised Master Mason which included the Tagalog charge; The Oklahoma charge and the Washington State charge by a MW Godofredo “Santy” Lascano, Past Grand Master of Masons of the State of Washington. Attendance: More than 300 Master Masons and X number of family and friends from 53 different lodges in the U.S. and abroad.
The last MGM was held at (XI)Acacia Lodge #243, Hayward, California. The excitement of the MGM festivities which continuously grew as weeks, days and hours came closer to the date. The anticipation drove everyone from San Diego, Arizona, Nevada and others who came from afar to travel more than several hundred miles with Brothers and family to partake in this memorable MGM events. The trip also included very enjoyable family time exploring the places and things that San Francisco/Bay Area and Napa Valley has to offer. Though with the aid of GPS, many of us have traveled through the rough and rugged road to Acacia Lodge telling us to make wrong turns but with patience we were able to finally reach the Temple. This MGM weekend included two Past Grand Masters, one Junior Grand Steward and an incoming Shrine Potentate, four Grand Lodge of California District Inspectors and large number of brothers, new and familiar faces . The highlights included the very solemn obligation by a Past Master; raising of a U.S. Marine candidate by a District Inspector and flawless lecture by MW Ken Nagel, Past Grand Master of Masons of California and a well delivered third degree charge by a Past Master. After the Lodge was closed, the newly raised “MGM Baby” with three other newly raised Brothers stood West of the altar and listened to Oklahoma Charge, and Tagalog Charge. In addition the Canada Charge and Washington State Charge was delivered by MW Santy Lascano, Past Grand Master. MW Ken Nagel then addressed the Brethren with a very inspiring “words of wisdom” which transpired to the hearts and minds of the Brethren in assembled, what we have in MGM IS A HIDDEN GEM, A HIDDEN TREASURE. With that touching comment, the group pictures, selfies and photos with the Past Grand Master were more memorable. Attendance: About 300 and X number of families and friends from 56 different lodges from the U.S. and abroad
At all MGM weekends, we have made used of the wages of the Fellow Craft Masons and had practiced again and again the three principal tenets of our Institution. By the exercise of Brotherly Love at MGM, Masonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion; and causes true friendships to exist among the brothers who are linked together by an indissoluble chain of sincere affection. At MGM, the great aim we have in view is to have its proceeds to be allocated by the host Lodge for charity, in relieving the distressed, supporting the youth groups and Grand Master’s projects. On this basis we form our friendships and establish our connections. To be good and true is the first lesson we are taught in Masonry, at MGM, hypocrisy and deceit are unknown among us, sincerity and plain dealings distinguish us and with heart and tongue we met on the level, acted by the plumb and parted upon the square.
A special thank you to the Worshipful Masters, Past Masters and Brethren from the host Lodges, to the event committee organizers of dedicated volunteer Brothers and Sisters and most especially to those who patiently labored long hours in the kitchen and dining room, and those manning the registration desks. Special thank you to all brothers who have worked behind the scene anonymously.
Announcements: MGM goes to (XII)Amity Lodge #442, San Diego, CA (February 12-14, 2016) which according to our head organizers, the Four Grand Great Lights of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of California will be attending and will participate at the MGM Degree Conferral. As well as, Grand Masters and Past Grand Masters of other Jurisdictions were invited to attend. Invitations are also extended by MW Santy Lascano, PGM of Washington when MGM goes to Washington State on July1-3, 2016.
LONG LIVE MGM!!!
Jesse M. Puspos, PM
South West Lodge #283 (Past Master 1997)
Claude H. Morrison Lodge #747 (Affiliated)