Archive for June 2011

St. John the Baptist Day, June 24th   Leave a comment

St. John the Baptist Day, June 24th

“There is in every regular and well governed Lodge, a certain point within a circle, embordered by two parallel perpendicular lines…“

Friday, June 24th, Freemasons celebrate the Feast of St. John Baptist. A curious thing for a non-sectarian group to do. Freemasonry historically acknowledges St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist as its patron saints, reveres their memory, points to their exemplary lives in its ritualistic work, and dedicates its Lodges to them.

In 1740, Chevalier Andrew Michael Ramsey, a Scottish expatriate living in France, as Orator of the Grand Lodge of France, first suggested what morphed into the Templar theory of the formation of Freemasons. “During the time of the holy wars in Palestine, several principal lords and citizens associated themselves together, and entered into a vow to re-establish the temples of the Christians in the Holy Land; and engaged themselves by an oath to employ their talents and their fortune in restoring architecture to its primitive institution. They adopted several ancient signs and symbolic words drawn from religion by which they might distinguish themselves from the infidels and recognize each other in the midst of the Saracens. They communicated these signs and words only to those who had solemnly sworn, often at the foot of the altar, never to reveal them. This was not an oath of execration but a bond uniting men of all nations into the same confraternity. Some time after our order was united with the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. Hence our lodges are, in all Christian countries, called Lodges of St. John.”

Ramsey largely invented his tale out of whole cloth, and there is nothing to suggest that his account was anything more than a fairy tale.

In what is called the Old York Lecture from about 1770 in England has the following as part of its EA catechism:

“Q. To whom were the lodges dedicated during the Mosaic dispensation?”__”

A. To Moses, the chosen of God, and Solomon, the son of David.”__

“Q. And under what name were the Masons known during that period?”__

“A. Under the name of Dionysiacs, Geometricians, or Masters in Israel.”__

“Q. But as Solomon was a Jew, and died long before the promulgation of Christianity, to whom were they dedicated under the Christian dispensation?”__

“A. From Solomon the patronage of Masonry passed to St. John the Baptist.”__

“Q. And under what name were they known after the promulgation of Christianity?”__

“A. Under the name of Essenes, Architects, or Freemasons.”__

“Q. Why were the lodges dedicated to St. John the Baptist?”__

“A. Because he was the forerunner of our Saviour, and by preaching repentance and humiliation, drew the first parallel of the Gospel.”__

“Q. Had St. John the Baptist any equal?”__

“A. He had; St. John the Evangelist.”__

“Q. Why was he said to be the equal of the Baptist?”__

“A. Because he finished by his learning what the other began by his zeal, and thus drew a second line parallel to the former; ever since which time Freemason’s lodges in all Christian countries, have been dedicated to the one, or the other, or both of these worthy and worshipful men.”

The Preston Lectures, which is what our own rituals are based upon (by way of Thomas Smith Webb in the US), were the standard in England until the reconciliation between the “Ancient” and “Modern” factions in 1813, when a compromise was developed. References to the Saints were removed, the parallel lines were said to represent Moses and Solomon, and the lodges dedicated “to God and his service.” Our English brethren removed the saints to eliminate any hint of religious sectarianism.

In our American version, one of the least understood symbols is a certain point within a circle, bounded by two parallel lines, with the volume of sacred law at the top.

The symbol is actually based on an old astrological and alchemical symbol. The point in the center represented the Earth, which was thought to be the center of the universe. The heavens were believed to spin around the Earth, represented by the circle. The two lines represented the summer and winter solstices, the longest and shortest days of the year. For thousands of years, these days were celebrated as pagan feast days all over the world, and they were especially important to farming societies, because they were the astronomical methods of determining planting seasons.

In about 300A.D., the Catholic Church began to dedicate popular pagan feast days to the saints. June 24th, the longest day of the year, was declared St. John the Baptist day, while December 27th, the shortest day, was dedicated to St. John the Evangelist. Collectively, Masons refer to them as the Holy Saints John.

Operative Freemasonry was first developed when Roman Catholicism was the prevailing religion, and these feast days continued under the Church of England. It was common for guilds and other trade groups to adopt a patron saint or two. Some Masons picked both Saints John, and over the centuries Masons commonly celebrate their feast days with banquets. And curiously, even though Freemasonry today is non-denominational and non-sectarian, American Masons have retained these customs of old. Part of the ritual in America says that Masons come “from the Holy Saints John of Jerusalem,” while in other parts of the world, lodges are dedicated to King Solomon.

John the Baptist was zealous, while John the Evangelist was learned, and by picking both of them as patron saints, Masons symbolically united both passion and reason.

The symbol also shows the Volume of Sacred Law at the top. In Masonry, the point represents the individual, and the circle is the boundary of his actions. Taken as a whole, the symbol implies that a Mason should consult the sacred texts of his own religion to achieve the proper balance between passion and intensity on one side, and knowledge and education on the other. In other words, he should balance education, excitement and faith to effectively subdue his passions. In a way, it is a graphic representation of the conscience.

More information about the Feast of St. John the Evangelist from Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs by Fr. Francis X. Weiser, SJ:

This saint was highly honored throughout the whole Church from the beginning. Proof of this is, among other things, the fact that fifteen churches were dedicated to him in the ancient imperial city of Constantinople. Being the precursor of our Lord, he was accorded the same honor as the first great saints of the Christian era, although he belonged to the Old Covenant. The fact that Christ praised him so highly (Matthew 11, 11) encouraged, of course, a special veneration. Accordingly, we find a regular cycle of feasts in his honor among the early Christian churches.

[snip]

The question arises of why June 24, and not 25. It has often been claimed that the Church authorities wanted to “Christianize” the pagan solstice celebrations and for this reason advanced Saint John’s feast as a substitute for the former pagan festival. However, the real reason why Saint John’s Day falls on June 24 lies in the Roman way of counting, which proceeded backward from the calends (first day) of the succeeding month. Christmas was “the eighth day before the Kalends of January” (Octavo Kalendas Januarii). Consequently, Saint John’s nativity was put on the “eighth day before the Kalends of July.” However, since June has only thirty days, in our way of counting the feast falls on June 24.

[snip]

The Baptist is patron of tailors (because he made his own garments in the desert), of shepherds (because he spoke of the “Lamb of God”), and of masons. This patronage over masons is traced to his words:

Make ready the way of the Lord, make straight all his paths. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, And the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways smooth. (Luke 3, 4-6.)

All over Europe, from Scandinavia to Spain, and from Ireland to Russia, Saint John’s Day festivities are closely associated with the ancient nature lore of the great summer festival of pre-Christian times. Fires are lighted on mountains and hilltops on the eve of his feast. These “Saint John’s fires” burn brightly and quietly along the fiords of Norway, on the peaks of the Alps, on the slopes of the Pyrenees, and on the mountains of Spain (where they are called Hogueras). They were an ancient symbol of the warmth and light of the sun which the forefathers greeted at the beginning of summer. In many places, great celebrations are held with dances, games, and outdoor meals.

Fishermen from Brittany keep this custom even while far out at sea in the Arctic Ocean. They hoist a barrel filled with castoff clothing to the tip of the mainsail yard and set the contents on fire. All ships of the fishing fleet light up at the same time, about eight o’clock in the evening. The men gather around the mast, pray and sing. Afterward they celebrate in their quarters, and the captain gives each crew member double pay.

Another custom is that of lighting many small fires in the valleys and plains. People gather around, jump through the flames, and sing traditional songs in praise of the saint or of summer. This custom is based on the pre-Christian “need fires” (niedfyr, nodfyr) which were believed to cleanse, cure, and immunize people from all kinds of disease, curses, and dangers. In Spain these smaller fires (fogatas) are lighted in the streets of towns and cities, everybody contributing some old furniture or other wood, while children jump over the flames. In Brest, France, the bonfires are replaced by lighted torches which people throw in the air. In other districts of France they cover wagon wheels with straw, then set them on fire with a blessed candle and roll them down the hill slopes.

Source:
http://freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com/2011/06/st-john-baptist-day-june-24th.html

St. John’s Day Sunday Processional and Service (Central District)

Sunday, June 26, 2011 3:00 PM Eastern Time

Come out and celebrate St. John’s Day with us! We’ll be at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church (1003 W. 16th Street, Indianapolis), with Pastor Carl Z. Liggins presiding.

We’ll be assembling at the church at 2:15pm, heading to the march site at 2:30pm.

The program starts starts at 3:00pm.

Brothers, remember this is a GRAND LODGE event, so MASONIC dress is in order!

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Congratulations to Brian Sanchez, our newly-raised Master Mason   Leave a comment

Central Lodge No. 1 would like to congratulate our very own Bro. Brian Carlos Sanchez, who was raised to the Sublime degree of Master Mason this past Thursday, June 16, 2011.

Master Mason degree of Brian Sanchez

Newly-raised Master Masons Steve Downey of Fidelity Lodge No. 55 and Brian Sanchez of Central Lodge No. 1, with special guest William Ellis of Dalton Lodge No. 105.

Prince Hall Masonic Temple at 2201 Central Avenue was the site of the evening’s degree, with esteemed Masons representing various Lodges within and outside of Central District in attendance to show their support and Brotherly Love, including Southern Cross Lodge No. 39, Fidelity Lodge No. 55, and Trinity Lodge No. 18. Guests included Central District Deputy Grand Master Cornell Murrell, Grand Lecturer Charles Freeman, with a special visit from Bro. William Ellis of Dalton Lodge No. 105 and founder of BrotherhoodAprons.com.

Born in Manila, Philippines in April 17, 1977, Brian Sanchez moved to Los Angeles, California at the age of three. A devoted husband and father of two beautiful children, Bro. Sanchez moved to Indianapolis in 2010 to work for the Saturday Evening Post magazine as a graphic designer. His talents include graphic design, website design, and illustration, while his passions include philosophy, history, and spirituality. Bro. Sanchez was raised a Master Mason along with Bro. Steve Downey of Fidelity Lodge No. 55.

Central Lodge No. 1 is known for their near-impeccable degree work, but there was something in the air that evening that made the Degree Team out-perform even themselves! By the night’s end, the Central Lodge Degree Team received nothing but praise and compliments from all those who had the pleasure to attend.

SW David Bryant, who served as WM for the evening’s degree, had this to say:

“I would like to congratulate Bro Sanchez on receiving his 3rd Degree in Masonry, and thank my Degree team for an outstanding job! Central Lodge #1 has a long and proud history in regard to its degree work in this Jurisdiction…and brothas you let you light shine bright last Thursday night!! The “Bar” has been set!!”

Master Mason degree of Brian Sanchez

Newly-raised Master Mason Brian Sanchez, visited by Georgia's William Ellis of Dalton Lodge No. 105.

Posted June 18, 2011 by Central Lodge No. 1 F&AM PHA in Congratulations

Grand News – Continued from Vol. 1, Issue 2 of the Central Light Newsletter   Leave a comment

In accordance with the Grand Master’s proclamation, the 155th Annual Grand Communication and session will convene on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 8:00 a.m. at the Wyndham Hotel located at 2544 Executive Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46241 and close on Sunday, July 24, 2011.

All advance registration forms and fees shall be mailed to the Grand Secretary, Charles Vaughn at 5605 E. 38th St., Indianapolis, IN 46218 on/or before July 11, 2011.

Advance Registration:

$75 Non-voting Blue House

$95 Voting Blue House

$95 Non-voting Blue House & OES

$115 Voting Blue House & OES

$10 extra for on-site registration

Prices includes your banquet and scholarship Luncheon tickets.

Extra tickets are as follows:

$18 – Corporate Luncheon

$40 – Awards Banquet

All members attending Grand Session (Voting or Non-Voting) must register and display the proper badge and credentials at all times during session. You must show your paid, up-to-date dues card from your Lodge when requesting voting credentials.

Registration hours at the 155th Annual Communication are:

Thursday, July 21st, 2011 4:00 PM –6:00 PM

Friday, July 22nd, 2011 7:00 AM–9:00 PM

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 7:00 AM–9:00 AM

Sunday, July 24th, 2011 7:00 AM–9:00 AM

All Checks, money orders and cashier’s checks are to be made out to Prince Hall Grand Lodge.

Opening Session begins Friday, July 22nd at 8:00a.m.

Notable agenda items:

Joint Memorial Service.

Friday July 22nd, 2011 at 6:00 P.M.

Full Masonic Regalia include white aprons and gloves.

Grand Lodge 3rd Degree Raising

Saturday 7:00 AM Contact: Deputy Grand Master Otis Dodson at 765-206-0195 if you want to participate or your lodge has candidates for the degree.

Medical Presentation

Saturday 8:30 AM Presented by Dr. Johns

Secretary/Treasurer Work Shop

Saturday 10:00 AM Contact: Grand Secretary Charles Vaughn at 317 546-8062

More information to follow.

Merchandise Central — June 7, 2011   Leave a comment

Welcome to our first installment of Central Light Online’s Merchandise Central, where we feature some of our new and up-coming products designed by Central Lodge brothers, for Central Lodge brothers. Proceeds of these and any Central Lodge items go directly to fund Central Lodge No. 1 activities, as well as to help keep our Lodge alive and kicking.

Central Lodge No. 1 Mirror License Plates

Central Lodge No. 1 Mirror License Plates

We just received our initial shipment of Central Lodge No. 1 mirror acrylic license plates, courtesy of Central Lodge’s own SW David Bryant and designed by Bro. Brian Sanchez. As you can tell by the photo, the plates feature a mirror-like finish and are of a thick, high quality acrylic material. If you’d like to purchase a custom-made Central Lodge No 1 mirror license plate for your ride, contact SW David Bryant for prices and info. If you aren’t receiving any text messages from him by now, then obviously you’re not in the loop! LOL. And for more images of the plates, join our Facebook Discussion Group (you’ll need to have a Facebook account in order to join). And thank you, PM Willie Wilson, for the photo!

Central Lodge No. 1 Calling Cards

Central Lodge No. 1 Calling Cards

“2B1, Ask1.” Designed by Bro. Brian Sanchez, these exclusive Central Lodge No. 1 calling cards are made specifically for those who approach us interested in becoming a Central Lodge Freemason. These heavy card stock cards feature a matte finish and include our new Central Lodge No 1 logo on the front, with our Lodge address, website address, and spaces to write your name, phone number, and personal e-mail on the back. These cards are free for any Central Lodge brother who needs a professional, uniform way of giving potentials our information. Both SW David Bryant and Bro. Brian Sanchez have them in stock. If you need any cards mailed out to you, just e-mail or Facebook message your mailing address to Bro. Sanchez.

Central Lodge No. 1 Custom Ring Proof

Central Lodge No. 1 Custom Ring Proof

Lastly, above is a preview of our exclusive, custom-made Central Lodge No. 1 rings! The image is just a proof and a sample of how the final product will look like. Central Lodge brothers who pre-ordered their rings are lucky, as they paid for them at a discounted price. From here on, these rings (and matching lapel pins), will be sold at our regular “retail” price. Our rings come in either stainless steel or titanium, custom emblem, and include a “gold firing” upgrade (basically, the metal is heated to produce a rich gold color, for those who like gold-colored jewelry). If you were too late to place a pre-order, contact Bro. Brian Sanchez for more info and our new prices. For those who pre-ordered their rings, they should be arriving late July. And thank you to Bro. John E. Morrow of JemsByJEM.com for the high quality craftsmanship!

Coming soon, custom-designed Central Lodge No. 1 T-shirt’s, Polo shirts, Dickies brand workmen’s shirts, and more! Stay tuned!

Welcome to the Central Light Online blog!   Leave a comment

The esteemed brothers of Central Lodge No. 1 humbly welcome you to our new blog, Central Light Online. Our blog will serve the following purposes:

1) To serve as an extension to our printable Central Light Newsletter, which is available for download at our Forms & Documents page, http://centrallodge1.org/docs.html

2) To post news and articles we simply couldn’t fit on our newsletter, or in-depth features only briefly summarized on our newsletter;

3) To recap, feature, and promote Central Lodge events, important dates, and special occasions, as well as update the public on all things Central Lodge;

4) Profile a notable Central Lodge brother in our “Central Lodge Brother of the Month” entries;

5) Congratulate the achievements of our Central Lodge brothers, as well as our newly-raised Master Masons; and

6) To give our fellow Central Lodge brothers an outlet where they can share their insight and wisdom to the public.

Lastly, please excuse our blog if it looks a little empty. We are still trying to get get acquainted with it and getting all the kinks out. 🙂 We plan on using our blog as regularly as we can, but in the meantime, please be patient with us.

Thank you!