Saturday, June 02, 2007

Manong Peping, PM

Letters and Figures
by RmOlano

I was on active duty when I met WBro/Manong Jose "Peping" Pascual in 1997 when he was still with NAS Lemoore Engineering Department as a civil engineer. He was surveying the area where the current F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Training Building is now erected. In a way, we worked together as he was involved with the actual construction of the building while I participated in planning of the usage of the same building for training. I can’t forget the day when he stepped into our office with ever present smile, pointed my coffee cup with square and compass affixed and asked who owns it. I stood up and said that was mine. With a brighter smile this time, he asked, "Are you a Mason?" which I replied,"I am."

The story might be insignificant as this encounter occurs everywhere and anytime however, the difference is that though I claimed to be a Mason, talked to many Brethren and even have a decal on my truck, I was not active nor have visited many Lodges including WB Joe or Manong Peping's Lodge---the Welcome Lodge No. 255 where he was the second Filipino Master of a one hundred twenty five plus year old Masonic Lodge in Lemoore, CA.*

WB Joe/Manong Peping genuine smile and warm invitation to visit Welcome Lodge had me interested again in participating in our rituals. His friendly but stern admonishments when I fumbled with my lines gave me motivation to be better next time, next line, next chance. I learned it first hand when as a Junior Deacon and he was the Tyler, short cutting the order from the Worshipful Master did not work and as certainly corrected for missing and butchering my line. One of the hardest questions he asked me after I informed the Lodge that I can’t serve as Secretary for next incoming year was if I want to be a Junior Warden. Though it was an honor and privileged to be asked by a much respected WB, I knew I was not ready, hesitated, and respectfully declined. I followed him and affiliated with Hanford Lodge No. 279 where he served as Master in 2006 – the year after I left federal service and took my current job in JSF program with Pratt & Whitney here in CT.

I heard that he is under the weather and I take the news of his illness with heavy heart. Though we are all aware of the finite amount of sand contained within hourglass, realization of that fact does not come easy. Manong Peping was my Commander at Hanford Commandery--KT, he was my High Priest at Royal Arch Chapter and was present when I was installed as Illustrious Master of Cryptic Masons Council. We served in multitude of KidsID events, attended District's School of Instructions and participated in numerous degree conferals. I am privilege to call him--- my mentor.

Please send my warmest fraternal greetings and best wishes to WB/Manong Peping and I would consider it a Brotherly favor if you'll make him smile with our story. If I may ask the Brethren to wish him well and recovery. May GAOTU let him stay with us as long as WB Joe/Manong Peping wishes to be.


* Angel Luna, PM was the first Filipino born Master of Welcome Lodge No. 255 per WB Hermie Valdeabella's email to the author. My apology to WB Angel for the error. /rmo 20Jun07.

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