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Masonic News & Views -- On Masonic Ritual
February 20, 2012
Greetings Brother,

Masonic ritual, probably more than anything else, is what separates Masonry from other fraternal and benevolent societies. The study and understanding of our ritual is one of our most enduring mysteries, not only to the uninitiated but also to lifelong members of the Craft. Because the lessons are conveyed symbolically they are and should be subject to deeper consideration and interpretation. Like the colorful hues of a sunset their meanings may differ by perspective and over time.

The performance of Masonic ritual is much more than mere recitation of words and actions according to tradition. The labor of Masonic ritual is itself symbolic of the labors of life. To become skilled in any worthwhile endeavor requires that we engage in that endeavor. And while perfection in Masonic ritual, as in life, is an unattainable goal we should nevertheless continually strive toward that goal. For it is in the act of striving that discoveries are made.

How did the Masonic ritual originate?

Originally the initiation ceremony was not considered ritual, but was called the work, and was the perpetuation of the usages, activities, and practices of the day-by-day work and customs of the Operative Masons.

Much information now conveyed by the written word was anciently transmitted by rites and exhibitions, “more attractive to the eye than words, but often to the mind more suggestive and pregnant with meaning.”

When the Craft began to admit non-operative or speculative members during the seventeenth century the work gradually became more ritualistic and symbolic. In 1717 ORGANIZED Freemasonry was born when the first Grand Lodge was formed in London.

At that time there seems to have been but a single degree and a Master’s part. Within a few years there emerged three degrees. Eventually the United Grand Lodge of England made the following important declaration concerning Symbolic (Blue Lodge) Masonry:
“it is declared and pronounced that Ancient Craft Masonry consists of three degrees, and no more (they are), those of Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason including the Holy Royal Arch.” the Royal Arch has since been eliminated from the Symbolic Lodge and is now worked only in Chapters of Royal Arch Masons.

Why does the ritual use so many repetitions, as in duly and truly, worthy and well qualified, etc.?

In Middle English writing, especially in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when Freemasonry was in process of formation, England had two languages. One was Norman-French, the other Anglo-Saxon. To make sure of understanding, word pairs were much in use, a word of similar meaning taken from each language. Thus we see duly and truly, worthy and well qualified, free will and accord, parts and points, hele and conceal. Similar phrases are found in legal terminology.

In one of these word pairs the word HAIL is spelled HELE. Is this correct?

The words HELE, HAIL, AND HALE are pronounced alike but have different meanings. HELE (Anglo-Saxon) is an old word meaning to cover or conceal. HAIL means to greet, and HALE means hearty and well. Hele and conceal is one of those word pairs in Masonic ritual originally used to convey the proper understanding to the candidate regardless of whether he was of Norman-French or Anglo-Saxon background.

I hope you have enjoyed this peek into Masonic ritual and I truly hope you will embrace its mystery.

Fraternally yours,

Tim Couch

(some source information from Committee on Masonic Education)

Now, on with the news........................

Tuesday, February 21, 2012: Solomon Lodge No. 271 will meet in Special Communication for work in the 1st Degree of Freemasonry. Two duly elected candidates will be presented for initiation into the mysteries of Freemasonry. Lodge will be duly Opened at 6:00 PM.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012: Billings Lodge No. 379 will hold their rescheduled Regular Communication. Refreshments at 6:00 PM and Lodge will be duly Opened at 7:00 PM. Your attendance and participation is welcomed and appreciated.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012: The Buckeye Ritual Club will meet at Canopy Lodge No. 284, 107 North 3rd Street in Verona, MO, at 6:30 PM for fun, fellowship and education on our beautiful Missouri Masonic Ritual. This month's education will focus on Opening on the 3rd Degree, Receiving a Petition, Balloting on a Petition, and Closing a Lodge.
The Buckeye Ritual Club is centered in the 44th Masonic District of Missouri, but of course all Master Masons are welcome. The club will meet on the 3rd Tuesday of each month and will travel to differing lodges within the 44th District. Click here to see the 2012 schedule. Mark your calendar and plan on coming out to have some fun with your Brethren.
The Buckeye Ritual Club is also on Facebook. Click here for the Buckeye Ritual Club Facebook page.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012: Solomon Lodge No. 271 will celebrate the birthday of Brother George Washington beginning at 6:00 PM. This will be open to the public and will include a Masonic Information Event for any and all who may have an interest in the Masonic fraternity. 1930 West Catalpa Street in Springfield, MO.

Saturday, February 25, 2012: A Cathedral Work Day beginning at 8:00 AM to prepare the Valley of Joplin Scottish Rite Cathedral for the upcoming Spring Reunion. Many small tasks can be accomplished with the help of many hands! Various jobs are available and all skill levels are invited to participate. Everything from replacing light bulbs to painting and minor repairs could be accomplished. If you can spare a little time, come on out and help beautify and repair our Temple! There's only one chance to make a great first impression on our Candidates!

Saturday, February 25, 2012: Republic Lodge No. 570 will host a conferral of the Order of the Sword of Bunker Hill beginning with breakfast at the lodge hall at 8:00 and the conferral of the Order at 9:00 AM. This is a fun and patriotic Order that also serves as a fundraiser for the hosting lodge. It is open to all Master Masons. For more information on the Sword of Bunker Hill visit

Saturday, February 25, 2012: A MoCHIP (Missouri Child Identification & Protection) event hosted by Mt Olive Lodge No. 439 will be held today from 10:00 Am to 2:00 PM at the Fordland United Methodist Fellowship Hall located at 266 North Maple Street in Fordland, MO (North of Lazy Lees).
For more information on MoCHIP visit

Tuesday, February 28, 2012: Friend Lodge No. 352 will host a Region 'F' School of Ritual Instruction at the lodge hall in Sparta, Missouri: 7702 Missouri State Highway 14 East. Instruction will focus on the 3rd Degree of Freemasonry and will be conducted by RWB Tim Couch, Region 'F' Grand Lecturer. There will be lite refreshments at 6:30 PM and instruction will commence at 7:00 PM.
All Master Masons are invited in.

Friday & Saturday, March 16 & 17, 2012: The Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin Spring Reunion to initiate and welcome new Scottish Rite Masons into the Order. Membership in the Valley is open to all Master Masons in good standing. For more information ask any member of the Valley of Joplin or contact the Valley office at (417) 623-3219 and visit the Valley of Joplin A.A.S.R online at

On March 17, 2012, the Valley of Joplin Scottish Rite Masons will hold a drawing to award a new Chevy Camaro plus other prizes to holders of the winning tickets. Each entry is just $50 USD and there will only be 2,000 entries sold. For full details and to get your tax deductible entry for the drawing visit WWW.WIN-CAMARO.COM. or find us on Facebook and "LIKE" the page at
We're a long way from our goal so please help spread the word. We truly appreciate your assistance.
And yes, you're welcome to purchase as many tickets as you like until the last one is gone.

Saturday, March 24, 2012: O'Sullivan Lodge No. 7, in Walnut Grove, MO, will host a Concealed Carry Firearms class today, and a few openings are still available. For more information contact Rocky Stehlik at 417-861-3931. Cost is $75 which includes lunch.

Saturday, March 31, 2012: O'Sullivan Lodge No. 7, in Walnut Grove, MO, will host a Concealed Carry Weapons class today. For more information contact Rocky Stehlik at 417-861-3931. Cost is $75 which includes lunch.

Saturday, April 28, 2012: Solomon Lodge No. 271 will host a MoCHIP (Missouri Child Identification & Protection) Event from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Masonic York Rite Temple, 1930 West Catalpa Street in Springfield, MO. At least 30 volunteers are needed to work this event.
For more information you may call the Lodge Secretary at (417) 425-0083. All volunteers must be signed up at least 12 days prior to the event.
For more information about MoCHIP please visit

As you can see there's lots of Masonry going on in Missouri. See the links below to keep up with the latest or to submit information for your upcoming meeting.

For more news of upcoming events and special communications visit the Upcoming Masonic Events page on

For a calendar of Stated meetings for many of the Lodges and Masonic bodies visit the Masonic Calendar page on

For help locating a lodge building visit the Missouri Masonic Lodge Map page on

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