Progress of Irish
Freemasonry in 1999
The Grand Master's
Address to meeting of Grand Lodge
Monday 27th December
always my review starts with sadness and deep regret at the death of' several
distinguished and well loved Brethren. The full list is to be found in the
obituary section of our annual report but I must mention a few of them by name
to-day. R.W.Bro George C Andrews,
R.W.Bro. Alexander Jaffe, R.W.Bro. Johnston Sherman, R.W.Bro. William Long,
R.W.Bro. Ronald L. Shepherd, R.W.Bro. John McL Pratt.
these late Brethren and those not herein named gave
generously of their time and talents for the furtherance of Freemasonry and
our deepest sympathy goes out to their family circles.
St. John's Day I was pleased to be saluted and proclaimed as your Grand
Master as were the Deputy and Assistant Grand Masters who were continuing in
office. All Provincial Grand Masters and Grand Inspectors were reappointed.
Grand Lodge officers were installed, invested, proclaimed and saluted according
to ancient custom.
our June meeting I was pleased to receive and welcome delegations from the Grand
Lodge of the United Grand Lodge of England and South Africa. Also present were
our overseas Brethren from Nigeria, Ghana, Glittering Star Lodge No 322 and St.
Patrick’s Lodge No 295. As always
a most enjoyable lunch was later enjoyed by all.
annual tripartite meeting of the Home Grand Lodges was held in London.
The meeting was dominated by the Grand Lodge of India problem. The report
prepared by myself and our Assistant Grand Master was duly presented and
considered. Unfortunately no
solution acceptable to all concerned could be found and a most unsatisfactory
the year several overseas trips have taken place. I had planned to visit Bermuda
and Jamaica but in the event the Deputy Grand Master accompanied by his wife
Sylvia and the Grand Secretary substituted for me. In Bermuda the Deputy Grand
Master constituted the Bermuda Lodge of Installed Masters and opened a Masonic
section in the Bermuda College library. He
and his wife Sylvia then proceeded to Jamaica where he visited several Lodges. It is significant that I have to-day
installed as R.W. Junior Grand Chaplain, R.W. Bro Rt. Rev Alfred J Reid, Bishop
of Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Deputy Grand Master accompanied by the Grand Secretary visited the Grand Lodge
of Sweden for its Installation Communication. The Grand Secretary and I had a
very pleasant visit to Helsinki for the 75th anniversary of the Grand Lodge of
Finland. We later proceeded to Estonia where we attended the constitution of the
Grand Lodge of Estonia. I had two delightful visits to Scotland during the year.
First M.W. Bro the Rt. Hon Lord Farnham, Pro. Grand Master of the United Grand
Lodge of England and I were guests of honour at the 400th birthday celebrations
of Lodge St Mary's, No 1, Scotland; and after much wonderful pageantry and
ancient Masonic ritual were duly elected honorary members of the Lodge. A
celebration never to be forgotten. I was also chief guest at the St Andrew’s
Festival of the Grand Lodge of Scotland when M.W. Bro Archibald D. Orr Ewing was
installed as M.W. Grand Master Mason. I
had the pleasure and privilege of proposing the main toast of the evening to the
Grand Lodge of Scotland.
Assistant Grand Master, accompanied by his wife Lillian, visited the Regular
Grand Lodge of Belgium for the installation of the M.W. Grand Master. Overseas
trips are expensive and time consuming and can be very tiring and stressful for
the participants but it is absolutely essential that our Grand Lodge keeps in
touch with world Freemasonry and its problems if it is to retain its rightful
place at the forefront of our Order.
home our October meeting was held in Newry Town Hall and for this we are deeply
grateful to Newry and Mourne District Council.
is now usual at this meeting, reports were received on the progress of the
Masonic Benevolent Institutions. These are fully recorded in the minutes but I
would like to draw your attention to the following. The Masonic Welfare Fund
hopes to commence receiving applications for assistance in the year 2000.
The Masonic Charities Committees have produced a new video "The
Masonic Order in Ireland ‑ 275 years of Dedication to Charity" which
has been sent free to all Lodges and I trust will be shown widely to Masonic and
trustees of the Freemasons of Ireland Medical Research Fund have agreed to
support a three year project at Belfast City Hospital in cochlear implantation
to aid hearing in profoundly deaf children and others.
am delighted that the co-operation between our various Charities continues to
develop satisfactorily and that the majority of our widows are now being treated
with equality and that we are making excellent progress towards our ultimate
objective of equal opportunities for all our dependents. It is not possible to
thank individually all those Brethren who so willingly give of their time, skill
and experience to the running of our Charities.
I know they all take great pride in the success of their endeavours and
we all owe them a debt of gratitude and sincere thanks.
I would again remind Brethren of the Grand Master's Millennium Appeal,
the proceeds of which will be donated entirely to Masonic Charities responsible
for the well-being of our poor and distressed dependents and I call on all
Provincial Grand Lodges, subordinate Lodges and individual Brethren to support
R.W.Bro Dennis Millen who has courageously agreed to undertake the
supervision of my appeal.
record an event which could well be a landmark for our Order.
I congratulate Masonic Havens Ltd. who have purchased a 42 bed nursing
home with 22 acres of land from St. Joseph’s in Virginia, Co. Cavan and have
retained architects to produce sheltered housing on the site. I understand the local Council has shown great interest in
this project which will be cross-community and should bring great credit to our
Order and to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Meath whose Provincial Grand Master I
installed to-day. I welcome this
wonderful initiative and it is my intention to visit the site early in the new
unique Masonic occasion was the laying of the foundation stone of the new
Masonic Centre in Limerick by R.W. Bro Geoffrey G Ashton, Provincial Grand
Master of North Munster. I know that it is intended that this centre, when
completed, will be a central point in the
local community. It is intended that Grand Lodge will visit North Munster next
year. Many other events have taken
place involving the general public which would not have happened a few years ago
and I am delighted that Brethren are resolved to ensure that the Masonic Order
is recognised as part of the community in which they live.
Grand Master's Council has met several times during the year and has shown its
worth to the Order, particularly in conjunction with the Grand Lodge of
Instruction, in examining and editing the new information and instruction
leaflets which have now been issued. I
am currently waiting for a report on membership which I have asked the Council
On the domestic front the issue
of the various new leaflets i.e. the printed ritual for the three degrees of
Craft Masonry and the Installed Master; the guidelines and instructions for
Secretaries, Treasurers, Almoners, Stewards of Charities and Directors of
Ceremonies and Inspectors, the leaflet for candidates and a brief explanation of
Irish Freemasonry for the public means that we now have the tools to implement
“programme for change” which is vital to the very survival of our Order.
Grand Lodge Website has been an outstanding success and we are deeply grateful
to V.W.Bro. Richard Gray and his team for overseeing this exciting project.
Finally a piece of news – Grand Lodge has purchased a lovely portrait
of the Lady Freemason, Elizabeth St.Leger, and it is at this moment hanging in
the museum. Go and see it.
it is my duty on your behalf to extend our thanks to all members of our Order
who have given of their time so generously and served on the various Grand Lodge
committees. I am grateful to our R.W.
Deputy Grand Master and R.W. Assistant Grand Master, R.W. Grand Treasurer and
R.W. Grand Secretary and his three assistants for the excellent support, advice
and assistance given to me during the year. A very special thank you from us all
to the staff for their continuing excellent work.
has been with pleasure that I attended many meetings and functions during the
year. I wish to thank you for the wonderful friendship and fellowship extended
to me and for your most generous hospitality.
wife and I wish that good health, happiness and prosperity go with you all, into
the new Millennium.