World Conference Of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges

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Opening and Welcome Address

M.W. Bro. Radu Bălănescu
Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge of Romania

Distinguished and beloved Brethren, In my name and in the name of all the members of the National Grand Lodge of Romania, I am honored and delighted to welcome all of you to the 13th World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges. We are much grateful for your participation and we open-heartedly invite you to feel like home in Romania.

The National Grand Lodge of Romania is extremely honored to host this notable session of the World Conference in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. Your invaluable presence on this occasion is deeply appreciated by our entire Jurisdiction and it obliges us to make all the possible efforts to ensure that it will be a memorable, fruitful and enjoyable experience for all the participants.

We are also indebted to the Brethren who entrusted us with the honor to host this Conference, respectively to the delegations of the Grand Lodges that attended the 11th World Conference, which was held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, on May 12th -14th, 2011, who elected the National Grand Lodge of Romania as the organizer and host of the 13th World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges. I must also emphasize our gratefulness to the Executive Secretary of the World Conference, our beloved Right Worshipful Brother Thomas W. Jackson, who has understood the potential, resources and determination of the National Grand Lodge of Romania and of its members.

Distinguished and beloved Brethren, your trust in our Grand Lodge and in our country, Romania, has produced its first fruitful effects and results. The 13th World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges is the largest Masonic international conference and the largest gathering of representatives of Grand Lodges in history. Without the observers, until the 11th of May 2014, there are registered 70 (seventy) Grand Masters, 106 (one hundred and six) Grand Lodges and 277 (two hundred seventy-seven) Brethren, who came from all the continents of the earth. There are 21 (twenty-one) keynote speakers, who will present their lectures in the workshop sessions, some of them being registered to more than one panel discussion. Last, but not least, I ought to mention our 91 (ninety-one) beloved sisters, who bring so much charm to our gathering.

These results could not be achieved without the fraternal dedication and involvement of our distinguished guests, especially of those of you who travelled a long way to be here with us, at the 13th World Conference. I would like to salute the invaluable presence at the Conference of our beloved Brethren who came from the four corners of the world to bring their wisdom and Masonic experience in our meeting and to share it with their Brethren from all over the surface of Earth. I would like to extend a triple fraternal accolade and the deepest appreciation of the Romanian Brethren to the participants who came from Latin America, from Tahiti, from Australia, from Asia, from North America, from Africa and Europe.

Bringing together the leaders and representatives of Regular Freemasonry, along with the delegations they are heading, is the most important short-term goal of the World Conference. This international Masonic gathering is an invaluable opportunity for the participants to exchange experience, information, ideas and build fraternal relationships with the members of the Regular Masonic Bond from all over the world. Nevertheless, this short-term goal produces long-term effects, because, in this way and as a result of the share of realities of every Grand Lodge, the participants become aware of the world-wide Masonic facts, thoughts, preoccupations and aspirations. In this way, the participants manage to connect to the Masonic realities that, otherwise, might have remained unknown, and, as a result, they develop their awareness of the entire regular Masonic family. Consequently, the World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges is the true engine that will lead to the certain progress of the Universal Masonic Bond.

The share of realities and experience, as well as the awareness of the entire regular Masonic family produce further effects, which are very useful for the development of many newly established Grand Lodges and for defining a common vision and self-knowledge of the entire Universal Masonic Bond. Only if we pool our manifold experiences and only if we share our interests, visions and projects, we will be able to come to a common and unitary vision in addressing globally the Masonic matters and in identifying common guidelines for our general interest.

Consolidated by the existence of the World Conference, the concept of Universal Masonic Bond unveils its true utility and strength, because only on these occasions we can be fully aware of the force and power that we have when we are united together, working as a single worldwide team. United in harmony, with self-aware common consciousness and common visions and projects, we are powerful and judicious and we can defeat any difficulties that might occur in the future.

Nevertheless, we should never forget that our strength and unity are sustained by the pillars of judiciousness, wisdom, understanding, impartiality and, maybe most important, by our desire to put ourselves in the uninterested service of humanity and our Craft. For the achievement of this honorable and sacred goal we must deflate our egos and we must struggle, both individually and as a self-aware and reasonable family, to put the interest of the group before the individual interests. Don’t forget that we are a family of Brethren who live, think and act within a larger family – that of the humankind.

Our Masonic lives are closely interwoven with our lives in the Civil Society. The deeds that we do outside the Temple are the ones that define us. We have the duty and responsibility to act as inspiring role models that are emulated by the others, because the eyes of the Civil Society are fastened on Freemasonry, as on an organization from whose interior the signs and beams of hope are expected to emerge in the most difficult moments of social life.

Therefore it lies within the power of each one of us to be an example for our fellow citizens and for our descendants to follow, or, on the contrary, to be a simple passerby through life.

Without pretentious and inflated egos, without any individual interest, but, on the contrary, humble, dedicated, wise and untired, we must work endlessly for the benefit of our ancient brotherhood and for the benefit of mankind. This is why the 13th World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges is focused on the relation between Regular Freemasonry and the civil society.

I am confident that you will enjoy your stay in Romania and that the 13th World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges and the Annual Communication of the National Grand Lodge of Romania will be an informative, productive and enjoyable event.