FLAGS, FUNERALS and GRANDS!
We continue Masonic Etiquette this evening with Flags, Funerals and Grands! When last we met, we covered Elections and Emblems. Tonight we add a few more letters, beginning with:
Flags ~ Our national Flag has its place of honor, in its own stand and placed in the East to the right of the Worshipful master. It should be given precedence over all other banners or flags, including the Lodge Banner. A Lodge Banner if there is one, should be placed behind the secretary’s desk on the Worshipful Master’s left. Our National Flag should never be used as an altar drape or bunting on furniture.
Funerals ~ Masonic Etiquette concerning Masonic Funerals is quite strict. There is no ceremony more Dignified, Honorable or Solemn, than that of paying tribute to a Masonic Brother at his death. During the ceremony, the procession, and rites of interment, Solemnity and Decorum are to be observed, just as in the Lodge room.
No one may join or leave the proceeding, without permission form the Worshipful master. Proper clothing for attendance is a dark suit, white gloves, and a plain white apron. A band of black crepe around the left arm and a sprig of evergreen in the coat breast pocket will be worn as well.
ALL Masons, regardless of current or former rank, must be clothed with white apron and white gloves if in the service or procession. At the death of a Brother, the Worshipful Master may order at his discretion, the Charter and Altar draped for a 30 day period, as well as his gavel, the Warden’s Columns, and the Deacons and Stewards’ staffs. The Tyler’s sword and the Marshal’s baton should be trimmed in black crepe tied with a white ribbon. The Grand Master, at his choosing, may order the drapings at the death of any distinguished Brother.
It is proper that the Worshipful Master hold practices to assure that the ritual is well learned in advance, so as to not create an unfavorable impression to the bereaved. The service should be recited by the Worshipful master or his appointed designate – not read.
We are engaged in the simple and dignified ceremony of burying our dead. The white Gloves and apron are simply symbols of the equality within the Craft, and that death is the leveler of all men. The Deceased Brother’s apron should be laid upon the casket – not tied upon the body. It is the badge of a Mason at labor, and the deceased has finished his Labor and has entered into Eternal Refreshment.
If the deceased was in Military service and military honors and protocol are observed, the apron is placed on the casket first, Under the flag. The many words and phrases of the Masonic Funeral are difficult in pronunciation and rendition, and must be practiced with thought, care and dignity. In so doing, it will honor him and bring warmth and comfort to the bereaved in its beauty.
Now to the Grands!
Grand Honors ~ They are Inherited from the Past, and have been accorded those deserving, for generations. They are to be given to Grand Lodge Officers, past and present, to Worshipful masters at their installation, and 50 year Masons or higher at presentation. They are to only be given in a tyled meeting in the Lodge or Grand Lodge, and never in public ceremony.
The Worshipful Master should inquire of a visiting present or past Grand Line Officer of another Jurisdiction if he desires to be formally received with Grand Honors. They must always be led by the Worshipful master in Lodge, and no Brother should be received after Grand Honors are given to the Grand Master. Applause is not to be offered, as this demeans the Honor of Grand Honors.
Grand Lodge ~ is the great source of power in the Craft. It has legislative, administrative and executive jurisdiction overall matters pertaining to the fraternity. Respect and deference is to be accorded to Grand Line Officers, using their correct titles. Moving about, talking, and failure to address the Grand Master or use his proper title, are gross violations of gentlemanly conduct. Decorum at the Grand Lodge should be the model, and be taken seriously by the individual lodges.
And I will make…My GRAND exit.
Thank you Worshipful master!