Each year the Grand Master is invited to help Lodges celebrate important anniversaries, and 2019 has seen this trend continue. Grand Master Raines and the Grand Lodge Officers have crisscrossed the state to reconsecrate and dedicate Lodges and Lodge rooms to the purposes of Freemasonry. Over a dozen Lodges that are 100, 150, 175, and 200 years old were reconsecrated. One new Lodge room was dedicated. Of special note, in 2019 the Grand Master was invited to rededicate a Masonic cemetery in Steubenville.
When a new Lodge is organized, it is erected to God and dedicated to the Holy Saints John. The Lodge Room, as a facility, is dedicated to Masonry, Virtue, and Universal Benevolence. The Craft or Brethren are consecrated to Faith, Hope, and Charity. These ceremonies go back hundreds of years. Brother George Washington is reported to have laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capital in a similar Masonic ceremony. The goal in reconsecrating a Lodge is to help the Lodge mark a unique time in its history and inspire the Brethren to renew their commitments to Freemasonry.
On July 13th, the Grand Master conducted a public ceremony to dedicate the Masonic section of Fort Steuben Burial Estates. The Valley of Steubenville, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, completed a project to restore the Masonic monuments at the cemetery. They had fallen into disrepair over time, and the Valley organized the six Masonic Lodges in Jefferson County to assist in the restoration. This proved to be one time when our Craft, under the leadership of Brother Michael DiLeonardo, worked as both operative and speculative masons. The temperatures were in the 90s, and the Grand Master had traveled 200 miles that day between three events, but he and the officers conducted the dedication ceremony in due form. It proved to be an inspiring day for all involved.