The Making of Leeward Lodge
by WB Serafin "Jun" Colmenares, Jr., PM
As early as 1990, there were already some stirrings among the Masonic fraternity in Hawaii regarding the establishment of a Masonic Lodge in the Leeward area of Oahu. It was then contended that there was an increasing number of Masons residing on the Leeward side and that this could already form the necessary nucleus for the establishment of a lodge and for the spread of Masonry in the area. These stirrings, however, coming as they did from brethren outside the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Hawaii, did not create enough interest among the Leeward brethren, and, as a result, did not materialize. It was an idea whose time had not yet come.
The Leeward Square and Compass Masonic Club
A decade later, in the year 2000, the idea was revived, this time with the blessings of brethren from within the Grand Lodge of Hawaii. On July 4, 2000, Grand Master Mason Teter and the Grand Secretary Raymond Wieckowicz, Jr. talked with Bro. Willie Caliedo, Jr., a businessman from Waipahu, and Hawaiian Lodge Secretary Oscar Jayme, who hails from the Leeward side. Together, they decided to consult with the brethren from the Leeward area. After preliminary discussions, and as the interest among the Leeward brethren developed, Bro. Willie Caliedo took it as a challenge upon himself to organize and look for a meeting place of an envisaged Masonic Club – a necessary first step toward the formation of a lodge – and to determine the site of the future lodge. Inquiries were made about possible meeting places to rent in Waipahu, Ewa, and Pearl City areas – businesses, non-profit groups, and even churches were canvassed – but the rent would be very high. Eventually, Bro. Willie Caliedo decided to offer part of his office space as a meeting place for the proposed club. As he was expanding his business and would be renting the entire warehouse where his office is located, he also offered space within the warehouse to build a temporary home for the envisaged Masonic lodge.
With the initial arrangements in place, brethren from various lodges met on December 16, 2000 and agreed to the establishment of a Masonic lodge in the Waipahu area. As a first step toward this goal, the brethren organized the Leeward Square and Compass Masonic Club. More than fifty Masons from all over Oahu joined the club.
The Masonic Club, as organized, had the following officers:
President: Bro. William Caliedo, Jr.
Vice President: Bro. Bernardo Biala
Secretary: Bro. Nestor Muyot
Treasurer: Bro. Tom Arigo and then Bro. Victorino Reyes.
A letter of intent to establish the club was read by Most Worshipful Mason Teter, Grand Master, at the January 2011 Annual Communications of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Hawaii held at Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. During the ceremony, Bro. Willie Caliedo, as President of the Club, presented MW Teter with a membership card, making him the first honorary member of the Leeward Square and Compass Masonic Club. The Very Worshipful Raymond Wieckowicz Jr., Grand Secretary, became the Club’s second honorary member, followed by Most Worshipful Randy Chang, PGM. Bro. Robert Schultz, Past Master of Hawaiian Lodge, was assigned as Grand Lodge Inspector.
Serving on the Advisory Committee were Past Masters Oscar Jayme, Severino Malajito, Antonio Ligaya, and Teofilo de Aquino, and Bro. Esmail Solis. These advisors composed the Executive Committee as well as the Committee on By-Laws, with the addition of Bros. Vernon South, Robert Thomas, and Theo Butuyan. Meetings of the Club were conducted every first Sunday of the month at 12:00 noon at the C & S Services office at 94-099 Leokane Street, Waipahu.
With the formation of the Club, the twin challenges of building the temporary meeting place of the lodge and of getting the Grand Lodge dispensation began to occupy the minds, the time and efforts of its officers and members. Design, materials and manpower needed to construct the temporary lodge site had to be produced. Again, the generosity and cooperation of the brethren came to the fore. Labor for painting, carpentry and electrical work was offered freely by the brethren who set aside their Saturdays and Sundays, and even their free time on weekdays, to work on the lodge room.
Side by side with building the lodge room, the Leeward Square and Compass Masonic Club also went on fundraising. Masonic Building Fund Campaign was initiated with several of the brethren initially contributing thereto. In addition, the Club raised funds through other activities.
Leeward Lodge, U.D.
In the meantime, the Club officers prepared the paperwork needed for the granting of dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Hawaii. Through the efforts of Worshipful Oscar Jayme, with the assistance of Bros. Nestor Muyot and Bernardo Biala, the by-laws were finalized and all supporting documents were completed. The club also proposed the following set of officers for the Leeward Lodge, Under Dispensation (U.D.) for the year 2001-2002, all of whom successfully passed their proficiency requirements:
Worshipful Master: Severino Malajito, PM
Senior Warden: Teofilo de Aquino, PM
Junior Warden: Antonio Ligaya, PM
Treasurer: Victorino Reyes
Secretary: Nestor Muyot
Chaplain: Romulo Paano, PM
Senior Deacon: Bernardo Biala
Junior Deacon: Froilan Domingo
Marshal: Oscar Romero
Senior Steward: Feliciano dela Cruz
Junior Steward: Michael Ballesteros
Organist: Manuel Aquino
Tiler: Lucito Santos, PM
Inasmuch as the Most Worshipful Napoleon Soriano, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines, was visiting Honolulu in September 2001, the Club wanted to see the visit coincide with the institution of the new lodge. Prayers were answered when, during the Club’s special meeting on September 16, 2001, it was announced that the dispensation for the formation of Leeward Lodge U.D. had been granted by the Grand Lodge. The Lodge was duly instituted in ceremonies held on September 22, 2001, graced by the presence of the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Hawaii Don Wilson, with the Philippine Grand Master in attendance.
In December 2001, elections were held and the same initial set of officers was returned. The installation of officers was held on January 2002.
Leeward Lodge, F & A M
The election of officers for the ensuing Masonic year was held in December 2002 and resulted in the election of the following;
Worshipful Master: Teofilo de Aquino, PM
Senior Warden: Severino Malajito, PM
Junior Warden: Bernardo Biala
Treasurer: Victorino Reyes
Secretary: Robert Thomas
Chaplain: Nestor Hernandez
Senior Deacon: Oscar Romero
Junior Deacon: Feliciano dela Cruz
Marshal: Michael Ballesteros
Senior Steward: Manuel Aquino
Junior Steward: Gerardo Biala, Jr.
Organist: Orlando Bernales
Tiler: Bernardo Baldueza
The installation of officers was held on January 10, 2003. During the ceremonies, the Most Worshipful Grand Master Lyle Phillips made an announcement that Leeward Lodge U.D. would soon be getting its Charter, depending on the ability of its members to update its records and complete other requirements. Given this charge, the brethren of Leeward Lodge U.D. worked hard to do what was necessary to be chartered. This became a reality when on May 2, 2003, during the Grand Annual Communications of the Grand Lodge of Hawaii, the Charter was awarded. And to complete its becoming a regular Masonic lodge, the constitution ceremonies of Leeward Lodge was performed by Most Worshipful Grand Master Lee Skinner on June 21, 2003.
Leeward Lodge’s establishment as a regular lodge was accomplished under the auspices of four grand masters: Grand Master Mason Teter, during whose term the idea of a lodge in the Leeward area germinated, resulting in the formation of the Leeward Masonic Club; Grand Master Don Wilson, who instituted the Lodge and placed it Under Dispensation; Grand Master Lyle Phillips, who chartered the Lodge; and Grand Master Skinner, who constituted the Lodge. Leeward Lodge, F & A M became a reality – thanks to the collective hard work, dedication, and persistence of brethren who were intent in spreading the principles of Freemasonry in the Leeward area. To date (2014), Leeward Lodge has 176 members in good standing.
Brothers who served as Masters of Leeward Lodge are: WB Severino Malajito (2002 and 2004); WB Teofilo de Aquino (2003); WB Bernardo Biala (2005); WB Feliciano dela Cruz (2006); WB Oscar Romero (2007); WB Manuel Aquino (2008); WB Gerardo Biala, Jr. (2009); WB Albert Alvarez (2010); WB Geronimo Mateo (2011); WB Sonny Cardenas (2012); and WB Percival Sudiacal (2013). [Click here for photos of Leeward Lodge Past Masters.] WB Jay Oliver Bajuyo is this year’s (2014) sitting Master.
Leeward Lodge Moves Out of Leeward Area
The original site of Leeward Lodge in Waipahu, however, was lost in 2007 when Brother Willie Caliedo, Jr. surrendered his lease and moved his business to his property in Ewa. Since then, Leeward Lodge has been housed in the Schofield Masonic Temple in Wahiawa. The fluctuating number of membership and attendance in lodge meetings may be, in part, attributed to the location of the lodge building.
The road ahead is challenging – the biggest challenge of which is finding a site and putting up a facility for Leeward Lodge in the Leeward area. This was the rationale for establishing a Masonic Lodge on this side of the island and so Leeward Lodge leaderships should take on this challenge. And with the continued support, generosity and dedication of officers and members of Leeward Lodge and other Masonic brothers and the blessings of the Supreme Architect of the Universe, this monumental challenge – and other challenges –can be overcome.
[Editor’ Note: This historical narrative is edited from an article written by the same author and printed in the first issue of The Trowel, July-September 2008.]