[Square & Compasses]    

Letter of the month: June 2008

Message-ID: <d8a85a970806281928t36b858d7s165f138a092e3a37@mail.gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 28 Jun 2008 22:28:11 -0400
From: "Sarah Watkins" <swatk001@fiu.edu>
To: masonry-ask@mit.edu
Subject: regarding masonry


My name is Sarah Watkins. My grandfather (Bartley Watkins Sr.) was devoted member of the masons for a very long as even served as the "head" man in his lodge. His lodge was located in a small town of Oakman, AL and is no longer open. However, in the next town is a lodge with many members.

He not expected to make it through the night. He has always been a devoted mason and means more to me than anyone else.

I learned recently that the masons can actually hold a special masonic service. I am interested in how to go about this, cost, and if it would be okay and appropriate for me to contact the lodge in Jasper to set this up.

I also wanted to know if I should have planned this more in advance although I just found out about it today or if that depends upon the availability of the lodge itself.

Thank you very much,
Sarah Watkins

Date: Sun, 29 Jun 2008 08:32:53 -0400
From: A Page About Freemasonry <masonry-ask@mit.edu>
To: Sarah Watkins <swatk001@fiu.edu>
subject: Re: regarding masonry

dear Sarah,

Yes, the Masons of any lodge will perform a service for a departed brother. I am sorry to hear that your grandfather is passing.

If you know how to contact the lodge in the next town, then certainly call them! Let them know. If you don't know how to reach them, call the Grand Lodge of Alabama and ask them for help. They should call a lodge near you and have someone contact you to make the arrangements.

If you know any friend of your grandfather who is also a Mason, just call him. Right away. He will know who else to call.

I don't know the exact details in AL. Here in Massachusetts, we have a fairly brief (10-20 minute) funeral service. Usually, the family asks us to perform the service at the chapel or church, just before the regular funeral service by their clergyman. But occasionally, they ask us to do the service at the graveside instead.

Sometimes a lodge will be unable to muster enough members to do the service. In that case, the lodge Master or one of the members should call around to other nearby lodges, to make sure there are enough members at the funeral. Usually it takes at least a couple of days to get in touch with people, and for them to have enough advance notice to be there, so you want to call as soon as you can. But even if a lodge gets a call on the night before a funeral, they can usually get some people there. It's harder, but they will try.

Oh, and there's no cost whatever. If you wanted to, I guess you could ask the lodge if they had some charity in the area that they were helping out and make a donation to that in their name, something like that. But it's not necessary, and lodges *never* charge for a funeral service for a departed brother.

My sympathies, and I hope things work out.

-- Gary L. Dryfoos
   A Page About Freemasonry
   now at http://MasonryPage.org/

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