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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes November 2013


Masonic Hospital Visitors Log Thousands Of Hours 

Members of the Masonic family have volunteered more than 562,000 hours of service in VA Medical Centers over the past 5 years – that's more than 112,000 donated hours per year.

The recipients of these thousands of hospital visits are our U.S. Military Veterans and their families.

The statistics are part of a 2013 report from the Department of Veterans Affairs.   The VA's National Advisory Committee (NAC) is composed of 54 national organizations certified by the VA to provide volunteer services at the VA Medical Centers around the country.  The Masonic Service Association of North America is the only Masonic organization among NAC groups.

Only 12 organizations in the country provide more volunteer hours than Masons, and 11 of them are "veterans service groups."  Only one other "fraternal group" has more volunteer hours than MSA hospital visitors, and that is the Elks.

MSA Executive Secretary George O. Braatz is currently serving on NAC's Executive Committee.  After a recent Executive Committee meeting, Braatz noted that there remains a strong need to recruit more volunteers among all the organizations.

"If anyone is interested in becoming a Hospital Volunteer, please call us at the MSA office and we will get you involved," he said.


Reminder: Updated MSA Information After Relocation

Our new telephone numbers are:

301-476-9440 (fax)
855-476-4010 (toll-free)

(Please note:  The phone number has changed from what was publicized as "new" in recent mailings.  The telephone company gave MSA one number then changed it after we had sent out the information.)

Also, we have a new email address: [email protected]

The new office address is:

3905 National Drive, Suite 280
Burtonsville, MD  20866

Please adjust your records with this updated information.


The Golden Fleece And Roman Eagle

When an Entered Apprentice is presented his apron in Lodge, he is told, among other things, that it is "a badge . . . more ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle . . ."

What is the significance of these references?

The Golden Fleece was an order of knighthood.  It was founded by Phillip, Duke of Burgundy and ruler of Austria, on the occasion of his marriage to Isabella of Portugal in 1429.

This order used the winged golden ram for its badge, and the motto, "wealth, not servile labor."

This order was considered "ancient" even in 1717 when the Grand Lodge of England was founded.
The Romans used the golden figure of an eagle to stand for strength, skill, and bravery.  They placed it on the tip of a spear and carried it as a standard at the head of a legion.

The Romans used figures of other animals too.  But, in 104 B.C., the golden eagle became Rome's distinctive design of imperial power.

The Roman eagle is used in Masonic ritual, probably because it represents strength, skill, and bravery.

(Source:  The Philalethes Magazine, from an article by E. Milton Skelton.)

What Is The Origin Of The Masonic Altar?


The altar has always been an important and necessary part of a Masonic Lodge Room.  Or has it?

According to Gary H. Leazer, editor of the Masonic Messenger of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, and Junior Grand Deacon of that Grand Lodge, the altar may not always have been as prominent as we know it to be.

"The presence of an altar in a Masonic Lodge is difficult to account for.  William Preston, in his Lectures in about 1772, described all the furniture in a Lodge Room, but mentioned no altar."

Does anyone have information to show the origin of the Masonic altar?

(Source:  The Masonic Messenger, August, 2013.)

Happy People Are Not Procrastinators


The Reverend and Brother Norman Vincent Peale once made the following statement:

"The really happy people are those who have broken the chains of procrastination, those who find satisfaction in doing the job at hand. They're full of eagerness, zest, and productivity.  You can be too."

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