By Ian A. Stewart
A SPECIAL DEGREE CONFERRAL BRINGS SAN DIEGO’S LODGE
File this under possible Masonic firsts: This May, San Diego Masonic lodge S.W. Hackett № 574 held a second degree ceremony with current masters of nearby lodges sitting in every officer’s position. “The theater of it was really next-level,” says Ethan Carswell, who received the Fellow Craft degree. “I met some great people and some great mentors.”
The group of local lodge masters on hand to help pass Carswell through the second degree included David Murray (master of Santa Maria № 580), who served as the master of the ceremony; Jeffrey Powell (Consuelo № 325), who served as senior warden; Nicholas Hoffman (Black Mountain № 845) as junior warden; Walter Von Westphalen (Point Loma № 620) as secretary; Ronald Banci (South West № 283) as treasurer; and Percival Bautista (Silver Gate Three Stars № 296), who served as marshal and presented the charge.
In addition, masters Jonathan Robles (San Diego № 35) served as chaplain; Roberto Reyes (East San Diego № 561) was senior deacon; Mark de la Cruz (Amity No. 442) was junior deacon; David Descoteaux (Heartland № 576) was senior steward; David Diaz (Lux № 846) was junior steward; and Michael Singer (Novus Veteris № 864) was tiler.
Says Carswell of the second degree presentation, “It was top-notch. It was really a great night—a great time. And then getting to sit and talk to everyone at refreshment, and getting that perspective, that was probably better than the degree itself.“
Another thing that added to Carswell’s big night: Having a large contingent of Navy men, like himself, on hand. (Of course San Diego Masonic lodges tend to feature a large number of former and active-duty Masons.) Carswell, who is enlisted as part of a helicopter maritime strike squadron, says he’s met several mentors through his lodge, including Hoffman, who understand life as an aspiring officer.
Connections like those, he says, “Makes me want to give back to the lodge that gave me so much.”