Monday, March 14, 2016

Rediscovering Freemasonry at the Knights of Columbus

New Haven, CT -- Tired, frustrated, and disenchanted with the culture of title chasers, antiquated mindsets, and back room politicking, many young Masons who once felt disenfranchised at their lodges have managed to find a new wellspring of religious tolerance, fraternal bonding, morality, and friendship. 

The twist: All of this is happening at the Knights of Columbus.

I met up with fellow TPB reporter Dionysius Bacchus in the home city of the KofC, where we were invited to check out a “council,” (the KofC equivalent of a lodge) during one of their frequent fellowship evenings.

“We aren’t bound by the strict, and often arbitrary rules set by the state masonic Grand Lodge,” explained Bill Theodore, our guide for the evening. A Past Master of Excellence Lodge No. 102 AF& AM in West Haven, Bill joined Adventure Council several years ago after discovering that he had nothing much to do after serving for three years in his Masonic Lodge. “Once I went through the chairs, there were already so many other Past Masters, that my input wasn’t really needed. I was bored, and I’d heard about how the Knights were re-discovering Masonry, so I joined,” he said. “Since then, I’ve truly understood what Freemasonry is about.”

Indeed, most of the members coming over from the Blue Lodges are happy to find that they use their meeting time productively. Minutes are kept to a bare minimum, since the members get an emailed copy to review before the meeting. The rest of the time is spent working on character development, moral and philosophical discussions, and planning the next pancake breakfast.

“Pancake breakfast?” asked Dionysius. 

“That’s the one thing that no fraternal organization can get away from, it seems,” remarked WB Theodore. “But the other aspects are enough to make up for it. We have some great degree rehearsals, so nobody looks like they don’t know what they’re doing, or keeps forgetting their lines. And after the meetings, we can go downstairs and have a beer together over some pizza.”

Many Masonic lodges are “dry,” in the sense that they do not allow alcohol on the premises. And since New Haven is famous for its pizza, it’s no wonder that the brothers enjoy staying a bit longer for some fellowship.

My fellow reporter and I were quite comfortable listening to the almost-but-not-quite Preston Webb opening rituals, and we were pleased to see that the minutes and old business were kept to under five minutes. There was a discussion about the place of the Freema..., er, the Knights in the community, some news about an upcoming degree, and a presentation about the similarities between the Scottish Rite and the Catholic Church. The meeting ended, and we all headed to the bar downstairs, where we tasted some local pie and micro-brew while chatting with our new friends. On the way out, we both purchased raffle tickets, another fund raiser that is not generally allowed in Masonic circles.

On the way back to the airport, Bro. Dionysius and I chatted about our evening. He noted that their lod..., er, council was one of the best lodges he had ever been to; and we both agreed that despite the name, there was no question that we had experienced some fantastic Freemasonry.

“And the best part is that they wear the same plumey hats as our Knights Templars,” said WB Dionysius. “Why, you’d almost forget which organization you were in.”

Dionysius Bacchus III
- Conte Calvino Gliostro

1 comments:

  1. The opening of the Council has no real overlap with the Lodge. Also 30 minutes of rosary is done as a council. There are no modes of recognition or memory work in the three ceremonials. Most of the ceremonials are conferred through Audio Visual media, and if you are a practicing catholic no new information is learned that can't be found reading the catechism and attending mass. Now its fraternalism is enjoyable, but if you compare each with a matrix there are not equivalent only aspects. I was a Knight of Columbus for four years before I became a Freemason.

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