When I pass, it is important to me to have my Brothers offer their last tribute of affection in a Masonic Service. If this is also important to you, let your loved ones know now!
Write your wishes out on paper and keep them with your estate papers or will. Talk to your family members. Tell them they must request this service by contacting your Worshipful Master or Secretary. Let them know where you keep your Apron. When the time comes, as it will to us all, help us give you the Masonic Service you deserve and entitled to!
Brothers! Please share this with your family members! If nothing else, put this in an appropriate place where it will be found if needed.
An Open Letter to the Families of Our Members
Freemasonry is a system of morals veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. The Mason in your family knows all about this. You however may know if it somewhat but not really understand much of anything. This is one of the liabilities of holding our traditional silence about the inner workings of the Lodge.
Many of our teachings are very near and dear to the hearts of Freemasons. The symbols mean much more than someone outside the Lodge would understand. The symbols of which I speak represent our brotherhood, friendships, accomplishments and nothing less than our relationship with God and life hereafter. Thus when it comes our time to pass onto a better life we want to have some of these things around us as a symbol of who we are and what our beliefs were.
Freemasonry plays a role in the celebration of a Brothers life upon his death. Here are a few things we would hope you would discuss with our Brother and look to when it comes time.
The Freemason’s Apron – Somewhere in his house is a strange little impractical looking white apron. It could be leather or cloth; plain or ornately embroidered depending on his Masonic experiences. It is probably in the cedar chest or buried deep in a dresser drawer. He may have more than one apron and if this is the case you should ask him his preferences while alive. You Freemason would most likely prefer to have this apron tied around his waist when his remains are prepared. The apron very likely was the first given him when he was first initiated.
Masonic Ring –Many of us wear a ring that identifies us as a Mason. Rings can mean a lot to a Mason. Some prefer to be buried with their ring. Others prefer they be handed down through the family. It is best to ask what the Brother wants before time. Otherwise the choice is up to you.
Monuments – If not already prepared it is quite likely your Freemason would like the Square and Compasses incorporated into the design of his marker. Symbols of his military service, affiliation with other Masonic bodies such as the Shrine and either York Rite, Scottish, Rite, Eastern Star etc. may also be meaningful to him.
Masonic Service – We can perform a Masonic Service for our departed Brother. Many Freemasons look to this as an important element of the celebration of their life. This service can be performed before, during or after the service of visitation. It is a beautiful tribute to good life. Bear in mind many of us are still working and not yet retired. Thus very early evening and weekday services are naturally harder to attend. The Secretary of the Lodge is the contact person. His job is one that passes from Brother to Brother typical of a volunteer run organization. We do have a phone in the Lodge for emergency should one occur while the building is occupied. But rarely is there anyone there at the Lodge to answer it. If nothing else, especially if the Brother now lives out of the area find a Freemason. Any Brother will at least know the basics to get things going for you. The funeral homes are also familiar with our processes and may be able to assist you as well. Once again, it is always best to talk these things over in life rather than to guess about them in death.
Hopefully this little guide can be of service to you in a tough time. We don’t intend this to be morbid. Neither do I suggest that Masonry dominate the celebration of our departed Brother. However, our experiences teach us that families miss some of these things because no one ever told them. We want to give you the best possible chance of doing for your loved one those things that would be meaningful to him. Your best bet is to ask him what he wants right now.