Grand Commandery Knights Templar Rhode Island & Massachusetts

From the Apartment of the Grand Prelate

“When the Saints Go Marchin’ In”

Sir Knight & Rev. Richard Haley, Associate Grand Prelate

The above song title references an old African-American spiritual that arose sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century and has often been associated with and found a prominent place in American jazz music circles, particularly in New Orleans influenced jazz. So what does this song have to do with Commandery?

   The last day of October, the 31st, is Halloween with its references to and decorations of ghosts, goblins and other scary characters, kids (and many adults too!) dressed in all sorts of costumes attending Halloween parties and of course trick-or-treating for candy and other treats. All well and good for our secular lives of having fun with friends, neighbors and the children of our lives. But October 31 is actually “All Hallows Eve,” from which the word “Halloween” derived, or “All Saints Day Eve.”

   “All Saints Day” is the time on the wider Christian calendar when loved ones in the faith who have passed on are collectively remembered, particularly those who are specifically identified as official “saints” from the well known like St. Francis of Assisi to the obscure like St. Abba the Hermit. I come from a Christian tradition that does not elevate people to “sainthood” but rather understands all faithful Chistians as “saints.”  

   As we all know, Commandery is a Christian-specific Masonic body. As “All Hallows Eve” approaches along with “All Saints Day,” I find myself reflecting on the lives of some Christian men - “saints”  now gone - who have influenced me at many levels:

  •  My father, Earle Haley, a Mason and faithful churchman who, though imperfect as we all are, passed his Masonic and faith legacies on to me and my brother.
  • Wor. & Rev. Clinton Macy, a Past Master of my Blue Lodge, an Episcopal priest, a WW 2 veteran with a Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge, and a believer in justice who marched for Civil Rights in the 1960’s - a man of integrity who modeled the importance of faith being integrated into the all of life.
  • Dr. Raymond Silvernail, a Mason, a physician and a committed Christian who understood and communicated the importance of empathy and hope in all places and facets of life from the good to the not so good.

      These are just a few of the Masonic “saints” I have known. As “All Hallows Eve” and “All Saints Day” are just around the proverbial corner, I pray we remember the Masonic saints of our lives and reflect prayerfully and faithfully on what they taught us and through the wise use of memory, still teach us.

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