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master mason's certificate presentation

by MW Wayne Hitchcock
PGM, Grand Lodge of New Brunswick

At some point during his term of office, the Master will be called upon to make a presentation to a member, or members, of his Lodge. The object of the presentation may be a new Mason's Grand Lodge certificate, his apron, a bible, long service awards, etc. Although he can simply hand the object over with a few mumbled words of congratulations, the Master can not only make the presentation more meaningful, but provide a minute of education as well.

The big moment for the Candidate has arrived. He has completed his three Degrees, proved his proficiency in all of them, and is escorted to the East to receive his Certificate of Membership. The following presentation was obtained by W.B. Luke Morrison, Hiram Lodge No 6, Fredericton while on a trip to the British Isles. It has been adapted to fit the New Brunswick certificate.

It goes as follow:

The Grand Lodge Certificate

Bro: . Having been regularly initiated, passed and raised in the established degrees of the Order, you are now entitled to receive the Master Mason's Certificate issued by the Grand Lodge of New Brunswick. The systematic granting of these diplomas, in Great Britain, dates from the reign of King George II, when by order of the quarterly communications of the Grand Lodge of England, dated July 24, 1755, a copper plate was engraved for printing the certificate to be presented to a Brother on his being made a Mason. A die was cut and an engine made wherewith to seal the same at a cost not to exceed 12 guineas.

From that time onward certificates, though varying in size and form, have been regularly issued until we come to the one in use today. It was designed in England in 1819 and is known as the Pillars Certificate.

This diploma, (by command of the Worshipful Master, if done by someone other than the Master) I now have the pleasure to present to you. (Hands over the certificate)

Whilst you examine it, I will explain its significance.

The document is surmounted by the arms of our Most Worshipful (Past) Grand Master (Name him)

The outstanding feature of the design is, as you will notice, 3 pillars, each with its corresponding base and entablature. The one in the center, like the Worshipful Master's pillar in the Lodge, is of the Ionic Order adopted by Masons as an emblem of Wisdom and has reference to Solomon, King of Israel, and his wisdom in building, completing and dedicating the Temple at Jerusalem to God's service.

The Pillar on the left, like that of the Senior Warden's, is of the Doric Order, emblematical of strength, such as the strength of Hiram, King of Tyre in supporting King Solomon with men and material.

The right hand pillar, like the pillar of the Junior Warden, is of the Corinthian Order, the emblem of beauty and has reference to Hiram Abif and his curious and masterly workmanship in beautifying and adorning the Temple.

The base of the three pillars rests on the black and white Mosaic Pavement of the Lodge which signifies light and shadow, or the joys and sorrows of man's chequered existence.

On the pavement are depicted the 3 emblematical lights of Freemasonry, the Volume of the Sacred Law, the Square and Compasses. The square may also be taken to represent the first of the three unmoveable jewels of the Lodge of which the other two are the Level and the Plumb.

You will find likewise the three moveable jewels of the Lodge, the Trestle Board, and the rough and perfect Ashlars, the uses and significance of which were fully explained in the lectures.

Certain of the working tools are represented, along with the Celestial and Terrestrial Globes which point out the universality of Freemasonry.

As regards to the wording, the left portion is a declaration in English, and the right portion is a Latin translation, pointed out to whom it may concern that the Brother named herein has been regularly received into Freemasonry and in due course admitted to the 2nd and 3rd Degrees and the appropriate dates of the same.

You will note the dates are recorded A.L. (Anti Luces-After Light), that is in the first year of the Era of Masonic Light which precedes the Christian Era by 4 millenaries.

In testimony that your name will be recorded in the books of Grand Lodge, the Grand Secretary has subscribed his name and affixed the seal of Grand Lodge. If you examine this seal, you will see the words, Audi, Vedi, Tace-Listen, Observed, Be silent. A final clause states that this document will not entitle a Brother to admission to any Lodge except by due examination, and, I may add, examination alone will not entitle a Brother to admission unless accompanied by this document should it be demanded. To the Brother to whom it is issued therefore, this certificate is of extreme importance. It serves as testimony that the Corner Stone placed in the North East part of the Lodge some time past has been well and truly laid.

This certificate is a means of Masonic identification, a proof of membership in case of accident or misfortune, and a passport when visiting a foreign Lodge where signs may differ somewhat from our own. And as no Lodge is regular without the production of the Warrant or Charter entrusted to the Worshipful Master, so not Master Mason should be without his certificate on occasions of Masonic importance.

Brother .. the certificate as handed to you is incomplete. To render it valid, Grand Lodge requires you to add your signature in the marginal space provided for that purpose and it is our customs that this be done in the presence of your brethren in open Lodge. The signature should be your usual autograph from which there should be Ne Veritas-no variation . My Brother, I congratulate you on receiving the recognition of your standing as a Master Mason and hope that you may long be spared to be stalwart supporter and a diligent worker in the Craft.

The Director of Ceremonies will conduct you to the Secretary's desk where you will sign the document.

While the presentation need not necessarily be "memorized", the Master should be so familiar with it that he can do it without reading from a paper. We have heard this given several times by Most Worshipful Brother Wayne Hitchcock, Past Grand Master, and it has never failed to impress the older Masons as well as the new one.

Should the Master deign to delegate the task to another, he should do so only to a higher rank to further strengthen the importance of the Certificate.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014