Masonic Service Association of North America
The Grand Lodge of Minnesota on June 24 will dedicate its new Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center on Bloomington campus of the Minnesota Masonic Home.
The new facility is 47,000 square-foot in size, featuring a 425-seat auditorium, conference and dining facilities, a Lodge Room, and an expanded, state-of-the-art Col. James B. Ladd Museum. During the jurisdiction's Annual Session in April, guests wearing hard hats toured the facility and were amazed at the beauty and Masonic significance the ongoing construction is providing.
The Heritage Center indeed will be among the crown jewels of Masonic architecture in the United States.
Eric J. Neetenbeek, PGM, President and CEO of Minnesota Masonic Charities, which is spearheading the project, said he has been asked why the dedication will be held on June 24, which is a Friday evening. His reply is that because it is St. John the Baptist Day, an important day of celebration in the history of Freemasonry.
He noted that the dedication would occur on the 299th anniversary of the creation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. Brother Neetenbeek explained that the day of the week was less important than the date, and that the Grand Lodge of England was actually started on a Thursday in 1717.
The Regius Poem, believed to be the oldest surviving Masonic document, is considered to be one of the "Old Charges"-- that is, a description of the requirements to be a Freemason.
There are other ancient manuscripts and documents, which also fall into the category of "Old Charges."
The archives of the Masonic Service Association contain descriptions, insights and commentary about at least four of these historic documents. They are:
For those who want to learn more about some of the earliest historical documents about Freemasonry, MSA has assembled of packet from its archived material.
The Packet includes 2 Digests, 2 historical Short Talk Bulletins, and 2 copies of other saved documents from MSA's archives, all of which try to explain and translate what our Masonic forefathers considered important.
These items, if obtained individually from MSA, would cost $21. Together in the special offer, they are available for $15, including shipping and handling.
Those interested can send a $15 check for each packet to the MSA Office, using the order code #SPRP. Or, they can be obtained at MSA's website – www.msana.com -- using a credit card. Supplies are limited.
How were the great cathedrals of Europe constructed, centuries before today's advanced equipment? The processes and primitive hand tools of the time were explained in detail by Russell Herner, an Ohio Mason, who has been researching and photographing cathedrals for more than 40 years.
The presentation was made at the annual seminar, which opened the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut in April in Cromwell. Each year, a noted speaker brings a program for those attending the session.
Brother Herner described the organization, dress, habits, and building practices of the operative Masons who designed and built the cathedrals. He also compared the different styles and origins of the architecture of time.
The speaker is the author of a recently published book, "Cathedrals Built by the Masons," a 224-page, hardcover volume that includes more than 250 photos and drawings of the cathedrals. The book is available at shiefferbooks.com, at amazon.com, or at most bookstores.
Brother Herner is also a collector of historic tools used by the ancient Masons, and displayed and demonstrated many of them at the seminar.
According to Christopher L. Murphy, editor and publisher of The Masonic Philatelist, in its December, 2015 issue, "Pope Francis used the same words we use: fraternity, love, liberty, brotherhood, faith, hope, charity, and the list goes on."
"Every Mason since at least the mid 1700s (probably long before) has been entreated to apply the Masonic 'creed' in his daily life." The creed covers:
"Pope Francis touched on each of these 'virtues' in his well-crafted talks. The importance of the Pope's visit was that he stated these age-old requirements on a world stage, and at a time when their importance is paramount." Brother Murphy concluded.