A journey of fraternal bonds
14 November 23
A Sacred Pledge By RW Bro Domenic de Candia
For the past two decades, my lodge, Lodge Galileo 1019, has warmly welcomed and cared for visiting Freemasons from Italy.
The bonds formed during these encounters have endured the test of time, and we have stayed connected through internet and video calls. Lodge Galileo, with its deep appreciation of all things Italian – the cuisine, culture, art, and history – provides its members with an opportunity to reconnect with their Italian heritage and language. Consequently, brethren visiting from Italy are considered part of the Lodge Galileo family.
While attending lodge meetings is what visiting brethren expect, Lodge Galileo goes a step further by organising outings to restaurants, showcasing the beauty of Sydney’s landmarks, and extending invitations to our own homes. One visitor, Brother Gianni D’Ignoto, has been a regular guest in Sydney, passionately enamoured with Australia and its delights. Each visit with Gianni turns into a delightful gastronomic adventure, often ending with his jovial plea, ‘No more food, please!’
During one of Gianni’s pre-Covid-19 trips, he was accompanied by the Master of his lodge, Brother Rosario Carapezza. Following a leisurely Italian lunch, accompanied by a few glasses of vino, I made a promise to Gianni and Rosario. I promised that, during my next trip to Europe, I would make a detour to their hometown of Palermo, Sicily.
Since that promise, the world has witnessed significant changes, including a pandemic and the joyous arrival of my two grandchildren. However, our communication through phone calls and online forums remained steadfast, and with each interaction, the memory of ‘the promise’ echoed in my mind.
More recently, I received an unexpected phone call from the Sydney Masonic Centre. They informed me that Brother Luigi Monteleone from Italy was present in their office, seeking to attend a lodge meeting. As fate would have it, Lodge Galileo was meeting that very night, and I promptly arranged to meet Luigi for coffee, and enjoyed a delightful lunch with him before attending lodge.
Luigi was overwhelmed by the warm hospitality shown to him by the brethren of Lodge Galileo. We hosted him, his wife and son for numerous dinners and lunches, and I organized a ferry trip to showcase some of Sydney’s most breathtaking sights. During these encounters, an even deeper connection was forged.
Finally, the month of May arrived, marking my journey to the 53rd European Conference of Supreme Councils of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, where I hold the esteemed position of Grand Secretary General. This was the opportune moment to fulfill ‘the promise.’ I excitedly informed Gianni and Rosario of my intentions to visit Palermo and expressed a desire to attend a lodge meeting.
The vibrant city of Palermo embraced me on a memorable Tuesday in May. After indulging in the city’s captivating sights and savouring its delectable street food, I arrived, perched upon a scooter, at the Palermo Masonic Centre. It was here that I was given the great honour of becoming an Honorary Member of a lodge. However, the roots of the following story stretch back many years.
What followed felt like a whirlwind of events. Lodge Triquetra 582, situated in the Orient of Palermo, decided to make me an Honorary Member. Approvals were swiftly sought from the Grand Orient of Italy and the UGL of NSW & ACT. With an overwhelmingly positive response, Lodge Triquetra rearranged their meeting schedule to accommodate my visit, spreading the news among the Sicilian brethren. The power of social media brought word of this significant occasion to several Italian brethren whom I had met during their visits to Sydney.
And so the night of the meeting arrived. Despite Lodge Triquetra’s modest size, only 17 members, I was astounded to find the anteroom filled with over 70 brethren all eager to meet the Australian brother. To my surprise, among them was a brother who had visited Sydney over a decade ago, having travelled more than 100 kilometres to attend this gathering. Another joyful encounter awaited me when I met Brother Dhimitris Nacollari, a member of Lodge Galileo who currently lives in Milan. To add to my overwhelming emotions, Brother Luigi had journeyed from the northernmost point of Italy to share in my happiness and offer his unwavering support.
Lodge Triquetra had meticulously arranged every detail to ensure my comfort and sense of belonging. The Australian flag stood proudly on display, and the strains of the Australian national anthem filled the air. Upon entering, I noticed that the Terrestrial Globe atop one of the columns serendipitously positioned Australia’s map towards the entrance. Though deemed a coincidence, I couldn’t help but perceive it as divine providence.
Delectable street food in Palermo
However, what truly moved me was the profound emotional connection I experienced throughout the meeting. Several brethren spoke of their heart-warming reception in Sydney by me and the brethren of Lodge Galileo. It was the culmination of the profound fraternal love that was manifested on this emotional night in Palermo, as I fulfilled my promise and was embraced as an Honorary member of Lodge Triquetra 582.