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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes July 2006

What is Freemasonry?

True Masonic ritual, as it always was intended to do, teaches the great lessons of life: the importance of honor and integrity, of being a person on whom others can rely, of being both trusting and trustworthy, of realizing that you have a spiritual nature as well as a physical nature, of the importance of self-control, of knowing how to love and be loved, of knowing how to keep confidential what others tell you so that they can “open up” without fear. In short, Masonic ritual teaches us to reach for a higher standard in conducting our lives.

Freemasonry sometimes has been referred to as a “secret society.” This is an inaccurate statement. Freemasons certainly don’t make a secret of the fact they are members of their Lodges. We wear rings, lapel pins, and tie clasps with Masonic emblems like the Square and Compasses, the best known of Masonic signs that, logically, recall our early symbolic roots in stonemasonry. Masonic buildings are clearly marked and usually listed in the phone book. The only thing that could be referred to as secret—although we prefer the word private—are the methods of recognition such as grips, words, signs, and our ritual by which we induct new members.

Over the centuries, Freemasonry has developed into a worldwide social and community service organization, emphasizing personal study, self improvement, and social betterment via individual involvement and philanthropy. During the late 1700’s, it was one of the organizations most responsible for spreading the ideals of the Enlightenment: the dignity of man and the liberty of the individual, the right of all persons to worship as they choose, the formation of democratic governments, and the importance of public education. Masons supported the first public schools in both Europe and America.

The 3.5 million Masons worldwide continue to help men and women face the problems of the 21st century by building bridges of brotherhood and instilling in our communities ideals for a better tomorrow. (Source: Compiled from several Masonic Information Center publications)

Operation Phone Home

This program is still ongoing, providing International Phone Cards to our troops serving overseas, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. See details at

Hurricane Katrina

The response to the appeal for help in recovery from Hurricane Katrina has been overwhelming. It is very gratifying to be able to report that as of June 30, 2006 $1,700,000.00 has been sent to the stricken Grand Lodges of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. (Alabama has notified MSA to divide further giving between Louisiana and Mississippi because they realize how great the need is in those two jurisdictions.)

It would be impossible to list all those who gave (thank-you letters have been sent to all donors). However we thought it would be proper to recognize some overseas support. The Grand Charity of the United Grand Lodge of England * The United Grand Lodges of Germany, Brotherhood of Freemasons * and the American Canadian Grand Lodge (Frankfurt, Germany); all were most generous in their assistance.

We are also pleased to report that we continue to receive donations. These gifts are most welcome because the need is still great!

Freemasons may be very proud of the help given to those in desperate need!

Shriners Hospitals

In 2005, Shriners Hospitals approved 37,775 new patient applications and cared for 123,385 patients. In 2005, Shriners Hospitals for Children provided the following:

  • 228,261 radiology procedures
  • 305,445 outpatient, outreach and telemedicine visits
  • 67,735 orthotic and prosthetic devices
  • 24,627 surgical procedures
  • 469,469 physical therapy treatments
  • 227,857 occupational therapy treatments

Shriners Hospitals’ total budget for 2006 is $649 million, of which $616 million is designated for operating expenses (including $33 million for research) and $33 million is earmarked for building and equipment expenditures. During the 84-year history of Shriners Hospitals, approximately $7.6 billion has been spent to operate Shriners Hospitals, and over $1.73 billion has been spent on construction and renovation.

 (Source: Shrine News Release)

Did you Know? What is the All-Seeing Eye?

The eye was a symbol of God before Old Testament days, in Egypt and India. The words do not appear in the Great Light. The eye upon United States paper money, while a symbol of the Great Architect, was not selected by Masons. The Psalmist expresses the symbol’s meaning with the words (Psalm 121:4): “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”

 (Source: MSA Digest Masonic Vocabulary)

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