Gourgas Chapter Rose Croix
2018/19 Annual Report
My first year as Most Wise Master of the Chapter of Rose Croix has been very rewarding. In May of last year, fifteen officers were installed, which included three elected officers and twelve appointed officers. As is customary in the Fraternity, all officers were marshalled and installed before the Three Great Lights of Freemasonry on the Altar. And all officers swore full allegiance and fealty to the Supreme Council in the presence of the Grand Architect of the Universe.
The Chapter of Rose Croix administers the 17° and 18° which are called the ‘Philosophical Degrees.’ They are universal in their philosophy within a monotheistic framework, but with no sectarian basis. According to Masonic scholars, ‘Rose Cross,’ from which ‘Rose Croix’ derives its name, represents ‘dawn of eternal life’ and ‘resurrection or renewal of life.’ The Most Wise Master’s jewel demonstrates the pinnacle of the Chapter of Rose Croix and is composed of a circle which encloses a compass with crown, ‘Rose Cross,’ and ‘pelican feeding its young with its own blood’ underneath. The letters ‘INRI’ are also at the bottom of the jewel, which in Latin means ‘Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum’ or ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ The symbology of this jewel means that within the Chapter of Rose Croix, Freemasons are crowned and knighted with lessons taught of self-sacrifice and immortality through the resurrection of the spirit. This was exemplified by officers of our Chapter and members of the Scottish Rite in the 18° last Fall Reunion.
This past Spring Reunion, the Chapter of Rose Croix officers and other members of the Valley of Chicago performed the 17°. The 17° presented the conflicts of King Herod the Great, as he dealt with his family and kingdom. Some of the events in this degree are historically accurate as they depicted the renovation of the Second Temple erected by Zerubbabel. The ‘Book of Life,’ which was a record of the actions of all mankind since the beginning of recorded history, was sealed in the 17° and opened in the 18° after the revelation of ‘The Lost Word.’
This past April, Chapter of Rose Croix officers participated in their respective positions in the Feast of the Paschal Lamb Ceremony. The Chapter observed this symbolic celebration as a memorial service, honoring our Brothers who have passed away this past year. This feast is mystical and symbolic in nature as it demonstrated our belief in our Brethren’s spiritual existence beyond their earthly bodies. They are now liberated to be back with the Creator.
Stepping away from being Most Wise Master, I have also been serving as Museum and Library Committee Chairman for the last 4 years. It has been great to see how volunteers, part-time and full-time staff, and I have endeavored to create museum and library displays at the Reunions and year-round that bring more Masonic Light to the Valley of Chicago. Carl Peterson, 32° and John Marquardt, 32°, MSA are two of the museum and library volunteers who have helped make this a reality. Our new part-time Museum Director, Amanda Wolf, who started the position last Fall has been instrumental in moving our Valley forward with implementing policies and procedures which will facilitate us being better custodians of our Masonic heritage. As Museum and Library Chairman, I would also like to thank Commander-in-Chief Lance Welter, 32°, VA, MSA who served in a leadership capacity during change in the Scottish Rite Office, Debbie Pasiewicz, Executive Administrative Assistant, and Dave Koss, 32° who have supported our mission and vision. One of biggest steps towards this realization is our Intervalley Collaboration between the Valleys of Chicago and Milwaukee, where we will be working in the upcoming years to make this region a preeminent hub for the preservation of Masonic history.
Brothers in this divisive time, we should remain believers in the ‘universality’ of Freemasonry as put forth in the 18°. When I speak of ‘universality’ this is the belief in one God, where in our Fraternity we fellowship with Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and those of other monotheistic faiths. In the presentation of many of our degrees, initiates of many religions stand before the Holy Bible displayed upon the Altars of the Bodies of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite. However, our Fraternity allows all initiates to take their obligations upon that Book which is to them The Volume of Sacred Law. Let us remember that the new Law of Love is practiced in the heart of men of every race and creed, where the Grand Architect of the Universe is worshiped in spirit and in truth.
So Mote It Be.
Antwane O. Lee
Most Wise Master