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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes November 2003

One- Day Classes

One of the subjects about which MSA receives many, many inquiries is "How Do One Day Classes Work?" and "Are They Successful?" George Braatz, PGM and Grand Secretary, Grand Lodge of Ohio has prepared an article on this subject. Originally published in The Philalethes, Nov. 2003 it is reprinted as the Nov. 2003 Short Talk Bulletin with permission. The following remarks are taken from the conclusion by George Braatz. Editor

On reflection, after experiencing two hugely successful one-day classes in Ohio, one of the major conclusions is that there are many individuals waiting "out there" who really want to be Masons. Many of them are family members of existing Masons. Many are EAs and FCs, who never completed their work (25% of Ohio's one-day class in 2002 were EAs or FCs).

The class also energized members to recruit their friends and relatives for the Craft. For the first time in the lives of most Ohio Masons, the Grand Lodge had given them a "reason" to talk to their non-member friends. Their inhibitions about talking about their Fraternity and their reluctance to bring up Masonry in conversations with friends melted away. They had something to talk about. An excitement and enthusiasm exploded at the local levels. Masons were working hard to let their family members and friends know of this great opportunity. The excitement also led to many new candidates who wanted to join in the traditional manner. Conventional degree work in many Lodges has already increased, and will expand markedly in the next several years.

Did You Know? What Masonic penalties are enforced?

The only penalties known to Freemasonry are reprimand; definite suspension from membership; indefinite suspension from membership; expulsion from the Fraternity. To these must be added that intangible penalty which comes to any one who loses all or part of his reputation. Other penalties suggested in the ritual are wholly symbolic-are not now and never have been enforced. They were legal punishments in the middle ages, designed with special reference to the religious beliefs of the time that an incomplete body could not "rise from the dead"; that a body buried in unconsecrated ground (as between high and low water mark) could not ascend into heaven. Some Grand Lodges offer an interpretation of the ritualistic penalties, in order to be sure the initiate understands the symbolic character of these otherwise difficult phrases. 

(Source: MSA Digest 101 Questions About Freemasonry) 

The George Washington Gavel

This historic Gavel was made by John Duffy for use by President George Washington in the Masonic ceremony of the laying of the cornerstone of the United States Capitol building on September 18, 1793. Duffy, reputedly a member of Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4 in Virginia, George Washington's mother Lodge, was a silversmith by trade and was married to a daughter of President Washington's gardener. He also made the silver trowel and other Masonic implements used in that cornerstone ceremony, reportedly at the personal request of George Washington.

At the conclusion of the cornerstone laying ceremonies, President Washington gave the silver trowel to Alexandria Lodge (now Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22), of which he was the charter Master. He presented the Gavel to Valentine Reintzel, the Master of Lodge No. 9 of Maryland, whose members were present and participating in the ceremony. Valentine Reintzel was a Town Councilman and merchant of Georgetown who became the first Grand Master of Masons of the District of Columbia when the Grand Lodge was formed in 1811. Most Worshipful Brother Reintzel retained personal possession of the Gavel until his death in 1817 when his family returned it to Potomac Lodge. Potomac Lodge was originally chartered on April 21, 1789, and its then Master, Peter Cassanave, and Lodge members laid the cornerstone of the White House on October 13, 1792.

This information on the George Washington Gavel was taken from a brochure prepared by Potomac Lodge No. 5 and Riggs Bank. If you would like a copy of the brochure please contact the Masonic Service Association at the address below.

Cecil Blount DeMille

Cecil B. De Mille was born in Ashfield, Massachusetts, August 12, 1881. He attended Penn Military Academy and became an actor in 1900. He also wrote plays for David Belasco and in 1902 married actress Constance Adams. In 1913 he, Jesse Lasky and Samuel Goldwyn went to Hollywood to make a movie called The Squaw Man. Soon thereafter they formed Paramount Pictures and turned out many successful films. De Mille always directed films which had his Episcopalian Christian morality. He developed great stars such as Gloria Swanson, Bebe Daniels, Wallace Reid and Brother Monte Blue. He will be remembered for his historical and religious spectacles. Some of his silent pictures were Carmen, The Cheat, Joan the Woman, The Little American, Old Wives for New, Male and Female, The Affairs of Anatol, The Ten Commandments and The King of Kings. Among his sound epics are The Sign of the Cross, Cleopatra, The Crusades, The Plainsman, The Buccaneer, Union Pacific, Northwest Mounted Police, Reap the Wild Wind, Unconquered, Samson and Delilah, The Greatest Show on Earth and The Ten Commandments. De Mille was host of the Lux Radio Theater from 1936 to 1945. Bro. De Mille was a member of Prince of Orange Lodge No. 16, New York, and Al Malaikah Shrine, Los Angeles. 

(Source: Philatelic Freemason - May-June 2003)


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