[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: March 2005

[Web-master's note:As you can see, this letter was addressed "To St. Georges Lodge No 10 AF&AM. Montreal, Quebec Canada" but was sent to this website. I have no official standing with the Grand Lodge of Quebec, and no direct connection with them. But I thought I should try to offer this brother what advice I could anyway. In general, it is probably better to send your comments to the person or group you are addressing. You can find contact information for many Masonic lodges and grand lodges listed in the Pointers section.]

From: <Ruthandpetera@cs.com>
Message-ID: <62.51cbba76.2f7c7ffc@cs.com>
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2005 17:19:40 EST
Subject: Guestbook Mis-use
To: masonry-ask@mit.edu

To St. Georges Lodge No 10 AF&AM. Montreal, Quebec Canada.

My brother Leon M. Adler just died and the family requested a Masonic funeral. This was denied because he hadn't paid his dues for 15 yrs.

I thought once a Mason always a Mason.

My brother and I were made Masons on the same night. Sons of Barney Adler. At that time it was quite an honor.

In the years after my situation changed as did my brothers and we could not pay our dues. I moved to Texas in 1979. My late brother had mental problems and as far as I know no one from the lodge ever paid him a visit.

Good old Masonic brotherly love.

I still consider myself a Mason And I have no affiliation here.

From: dryfoo@MIT.EDU
Message-Id: <200503302332.j2UNWwLv010795@no-knife.mit.edu>
To: <Ruthandpetera@cs.com>
cc: <info@glquebec.org> (Grand Lodge of Quebec AF&AM)
Subject: no Masonic funeral
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2005 18:32:58 -0500

Dear Bro. Adler,

I am truly sorry that your brother did not receive the Masonic funeral that your family requested, and my condolences on his passing.

Here in Massachusetts, a few years ago, the Grand Master ordered that any family that requests a Masonic funeral is to get one. That is now the rule here. It used to be that a man had to meet his responsibilities and maintain his membership to get a Masonic service at his funeral. But for several years now, anyone who asks for the service will get one, and the Grand Lodge will clear up any inconsistencies afterwards. In practice, this has meant that:

  • Masons who resigned from their lodges decades earlier and never contacted the lodge in their life got a Masonic service -- because their families asked for them.
  • Masons who simply stopped paying dues, moved with no forwarding address, and pretty much just disappeared got a Masonic service -- because their families asked for them.
  • And in at least one case, I have been informed, when a man's aging widow got confused and believed that her husband had been a Mason, even though it turned out the man had actually been an Odd Fellow and a Knight of Pythias, but never a Mason, the grand lodge directed a lodge to perform a Masonic service at the funeral anyway -- because his family asked for one.

Your Montreal Lodge, and the other lodges of Quebec, can hold a strict policy of who deserves a Masonic funeral; that is their right. They could have been more helpful. My personal feeling is that they should have been more helpful. But they don't have to have the same rules as Massachusetts. They are a separate independent grand lodge.

I can't be sure about why the lodges near where your brother lived never paid him a visit. Did you ever write to the lodge to stay in touch with the lodge members and remind them about your brother? On the other hand, have you visited any ill Masons in hospitals near where you live now in Texas, even though you don't know them? These fraternal responsibilities have to be carried by people just like you and me. There isn't anyone else -- it's just us.

Again, I truly am sorry that your old lodge was a disappointment to you. You should contact them, or the Quebec Grand Lodge. Perhaps they would be willing to hold a memorial service for your brother's memory in the lodge? You find contact information about the Grand Lodge of Quebec at http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/Pointers/NA-GLs/QB.html

Please let the Grand Lodge know about your situation and ask for their help.

| Gary L. Dryfoos <dryfoo@mit.edu>| Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Saugus, MA (PM)
| P.O.Box 425400, Camb, MA 02142  | Mt. Scopus Lodge AF&AM, Malden, MA (PM)
|                                 | Richard C. Maclaurin Lodge, MIT, MA
|  "A Page About Freemasonry"     | Internet Lodge #9659, E. Lancs UGLE   
|  http://mit.edu/dryfoo/Masonry/ | 32~; MPS; B'hood o/t Blue Forget-Me-Not 
|                                 | RWG Rep.GL Russia near GL Massachusetts 
| "...one sacred band, or society of Friends and Brothers, among
|  whom no contention should ever exist, save that noble contention,
|  or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree."

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