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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes March 2014

700th Anniversary Observed by DeMolay

March marks the 700th anniversary of the martyrdom of Jacques DeMolay, the namesake of the Order of DeMolay, the Masonic-related youth group for young men.

According to DeMolay International:

"We celebrate the lore and ideas born out of Jacques DeMolay and the values he represents.  We celebrate 95 years of DeMolay International.  We celebrate the members, the advisors, and the support that makes DeMolay a source of pride.

"700 years ago, this March, Jacques DeMolay was burned at the stake.  The legend that marks his peril gave birth to an everlasting idea.  This idea has turned into an organization that has influenced more than 4 million individuals.  History rarely gives us people like Jacques DeMolay.  Let's make this March a DeMolay Month for the ages."

State and local DeMolay groups, as well as their sponsoring Masonic organizations, will be celebrating this anniversary in numerous ways.

One example will occur on March 15 in Detroit.  The 1926 version of the DeMolay Degree ritual will be exemplified by Michigan DeMolay in the asylum of Detroit Commandery, #1, Knights Templar.

Philippines' Contributions; Fundraiser in CT

Donations for the Disaster Relief Appeal for the Grand Lodge of the Philippines, where a massive typhoon hit in November, have been steady and generous.  So far, the Masonic Service Association has sent more than $100,000 to aid this relief effort.

The appeal is still ongoing, but will probably be closed soon.

One inspiring fundraising project for this Philippine relief effort occurred in Marlborough, Connecticut.  On January 11, East Hampton's Anchor Lodge #112 held a dinner at the local Moose Lodge, with more than 120 persons attending.

Rather than a fish fry or a spaghetti dinner, they decided to serve authentic Filipino cuisine.  The menu included Chicken Adobo (chicken marinated in a vinegar, soy and garlic sauce), Palabok (Filipino rice noodles in sauce), four seasons vegetables in sauce, with desserts of macaroons and fried spring rolls (Lumpia).  A Filipino drink, Sago Gulaman Cooler (made with tapioca black pearl) topped off the menu.  Native Filipino dress was on display, as well as photos of the devastation from the typhoon.  Music included Filipino melodies.

Area merchants donated items for an auction.  In all, more than $2,700 was raised for disaster relief.

Co-chairmen of the event were Martin Valencia and Rene Villano.  Brother Villano is a native Filipino and a new Master Mason in Anchor Lodge.

The lodge effort also was covered by the news media.

Freemasonry – Vital Element in Democracy 

Freemasonry in North America in the 18th Century was essential in the development of Democracy on this continent, according to Dr. Margaret Jacob, professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles.  Through her research over the years, she has become an acknowledged expert on the influence of Freemasonry in society.

Dr. Jacob was speaking at the annual Conference of Grand Masters of North America in Baltimore on February 17.

She explained that Freemasonry helped institute and spread such concepts as self-governing, orderly behavior, a "constitution" as a governing tool, and advancement by merit.

Frequent Question:  How Can a Mason 'Join' MSA? 

The inquiry may come in an email or a telephone call.  A brother Mason has heard of what the Masonic Service Association does and he wants to "join."  Here is the MSA answer to one such recent request:

Thanks for the inquiry.  The Masonic Service Association (MSA) does not have individual members or local chapters.  Our only "real members" are Grand Lodges, and it is for the Grand Lodges that MSA works to perform a variety of services, which the Grand Lodges sometimes cannot perform as efficiently by themselves. 

The closest thing to a "membership" in the MSA for the average brother is a subscription to our Short Talk Bulletin publication.  This is sent out monthly, for an annual subscription of $12.  In addition to the Short Talk each month, each subscriber also receives our month Emessay Newsletter, which also contains a variety of Masonic information.  For a subscription, you can mail a check for $12 to MSA, or go to our webpage, www.msana.com, where you can use a credit card to order a subscription.

Our webpage is also a good information source about who we are and what we do.  In addition, we have a presence on Facebook.  Currently, we have nearly 1,400 individuals who have "liked" MSA on Facebook and receive periodic updates about our activities.

One other opportunity to "join" MSA is to become a volunteer in our Hospital Visitation Program.  MSA volunteers provide services for our Military Veterans at virtually every Veterans Administration Medical Center in the country plus many state facilities.  An MSA Coordinator in each state organizes volunteers.

Annual Alamo Observance in San Antonio

The Texas Grand Lodge Historical Observance at the Alamo always takes place on the first weekend in March in San Antonio.

The day begins with Masons assembling at the Alamo, the Grand Master making remarks, and a wreath presentation at the door of the Alamo in memory of those brave men who died there, especially the Masons.

After the ceremony, the brethren repair to Alzafar Shrine Temple, where youth groups (primarily DeMolay) serve a brunch, which raises money for the youth groups as it provides eggs, sausage, biscuits, orange juice, etc. for those in attendance.

At 1 p.m., a conference led by the Grand Master takes place.

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