The Journey of Freemasonry

by Grand Master Norman J. Mick I have often been asked how I decided to join Freemasonry and what did I expect to find when I joined.  The answer really comes down to my exposure to men that were active in the organization on many levels.  This inspired me to research the history of the Fraternity and, in return, brought about many questions.  I saw that Freemasonry had its origins steeped in centuries of development of the world around them.  I saw as Masons and world leaders, men whose names I recognized from my scholastic studies. I often reflect on the time when I realized that I, too, wanted to be part of this group of men who could make a difference in so many ways.  Having worked alongside two Masons for over a year and hearing of their many activities in Masonry, I wondered why they had not offered me the opportunity to join with them in those activities.  It wasn’t until I realized that one needs to come to the Fraternity of his own desire, that I asked my friends to sponsor me.  Although these two Brothers are no longer with us, I will never forget them. Joining Hoffner Lodge No. 253 gave me the opportunity to understand the values and principles of Freemasonry.  My new Brethren portrayed the ritual in a meaningful manner.  I began to realize immediately that they had done this over and over, but they knew, with each new candidate, they had the obligation to make it special.  These officers brought the lessons of Freemasonry to me and helped me to understand how to live them in my daily life. It was then that I knew I could be part of initiating new members and influencing others with my enthusiasm.  My one night a month turned into a Masonic career that gave me new opportunities to share with so many dedicated Brethren.  Each new step along the way allowed me to realize that there is some area of this vast Fraternity that can appeal to all good men who seek knowledge and the desire to make a difference. In the exalted position that my Brethren have entrusted to me this year, I find myself wanting to be the catalyst for improving our Fraternity and influencing the world around us. Three of the most important things I want to share are:
  1. Remember your obligation and seek to thoroughly understand its meaning.
  2. Seek more Light – do not stop at the 3rd degree – there is so much more.
  3. Always reach out to help a brother in need.
I wish everyone would see what I see in the members of this great Fraternity.  I see learned members mentoring our new members and, in turn, gleaning valuable lessons in so doing.  I see Lodges more involved with their members.  I see our young men today looking for something to grasp onto that will allow them to make a difference in the world around them. As I rolled out my program last year, I asked our incoming leaders to hold a Table Lodge, an ancient tradition that involves the members of the Lodge in a festive board setting.  The response was heartwarming as many Lodges did this for the first time and I was pleased to attend many of them.  This type of internal activity will strengthen a Lodge and bring out leadership potential. Lois and I are extremely grateful for the support received from our Ohio Masons as they embraced the Grand Lodge Charitable Foundation this year.  In recognizing that we are our own Special Interest Group, and bringing awareness to that fact, the Brethren stepped forward, once again, ensuring that we will continue to look out for our members during their time of need for years to come. From my first exposure to our Masonic Homes, I have considered them to be our primary purpose, as we are obligated to in every Charter hanging in every Lodge; the care of our worthy and distressed Master Masons, their widows and orphans.  I asked a representative from the Ohio Masonic Home Foundation (OMHF) to bring comments in each of our districts and display to our members the work that they do for us and our families.  At the last reception, our OMHF President, Mrs. Cathy Wigton and our Home CEO, Brother Tom Stofac, announced that this past year the contributions have set a new record.  My hope is that we all continue to remember our Homes in donations with our dues and bequests, but most especially in our hearts. As we now prepare to close out another fiscal year, let us not close out our enthusiasm for our Fraternity.  Rather, let us renew that fraternal spirit that has made Freemasonry strong for so long.  Back to the earliest of times, that spirit will continue as long as the world is here.  Our communities need what we have in our treasured values and principles.  Our country was founded on these same values and it desperately needs us to bring it back to that standard that made this country a world leader. Remember, our Fraternity has survived these many centuries because of those who came before us and will continue because of your dedication to our Gentle Craft. Always remember…..Freemasonry is a Timeless Treasure.

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