Vol. LXVI No. 10 — October 1988
This Short Talk Bulletin is dedicated to the employees and Field Agents of the Masonic Service Association of the U.S. who bring to the Freemasons, their families and the public at large; information, dedication, caring and service. It is intended to bring you the MSA story - Richard E. Fletcher, Editor
We hope you like our new look!
This logo is now the official insignia of the Masonic Service Association of the United States. Using the Square and Compasses, widely recognized as the visible symbol of Freemasonry, we have added the Book of Knowledge and the Eternal Flame.
Both of these symbols are visible expressions of MSA involvement with the Masonic Fraternity and the public at large.
The Book of Knowledge symbolizes learning and faith since knowledge is available both through reading books and reading The Book or The Holy Bible, the rule and guide of our faith!
The Eternal Flame symbolizes hope and is best expressed through the hope given to patients by our Hospital Visitors through our National Hospital Visitation Program.
Hope is also given to those who have suffered natural catastrophes and have had an appeal made on their behalf through our Disaster Relief Program.
WHAT IS THE MSA?
The Masonic Service Association of the United States was formed in 1919 to provide services to its member Grand Lodges that they would find it difficult to provide for themselves.
Thus the national voice that the MSA has is dedicated to SERVICE to the Masonic community.
Our statement of purpose is:
THE MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES IS A SERVANT OF FREEMASONRY. FORMED OF AND SUPPORTED BY AMERICAN GRAND LODGES, IT IS A VOICE THEY MAY COMMAND TO SPEAK, A HAND THEY CAN MOVE TO ACTION, THAT THE GREAT HEART OF THE FRATERNITY BE MADE MANIFEST AND THAT THE WILL OF A UNITED CRAFT MAY BE DONE.
We do not have, nor do we seek, jurisdictional authority of any kind! Our purpose is not to set policy, issue edicts, or otherwise become involved in Masonic jurisprudence or law-making. That is the responsibility of each sovereign Grand Jurisdiction!
What we are and what we do will be described in the following pages.
Feel free to contact the MSA for a copy of our Catalog which lists our publications, films and videotapes available to Freemasons throughout the country.
Our best known publication is the Short Talk Bulletin sent to all lodges and Grand Lodge officers in our member jurisdictions. We also mail this publication to our large subscriber list. This booklet is published each month on a Masonic or Masonic related subject. We now have over 700 issues in print.
We also have digests on many subjects such as the "Think Tank For Junior Wardens", "How to Dress Up Your Speech" and "Leadership" to name a few. These digests are intended to make Freemasons more knowledgeable as they develop their leadership qualities.
Several video tapes and films, usually for any audience, can be rented or purchased. Some of these films and tapes were prepared by Grand Lodges and made available to the MSA for wider distribution, while others were produced by the MSA itself.
The Association, after investigation, issues appeals to Masonic bodies throughout the United States and Canada for funds to relieve the human needs of Masons and their families resulting from disaster and catastrophes. The administrative costs of such appeals are absorbed by the Association. All relief funds collected are forwarded to the Grand Lodge in the afflicted area for distribution to those in need.
The following list gives an idea of the many catastrophes to which MSA has responded on behalf of the Grand Lodges of the United States and Canada.
SUMMARY OF MASONIC RELIEF
|Japanese Earthquake Relief||1923||$1.577.25|
|Mississippi Valley Flood||1927||608,291.91|
|Puerto Rico Hurricane||1928||86,316.58|
|Austrian Relief Fund||1938||5,202.36|
|Philippine Relief Fund||1945||46,798.46|
|Ecuador Relief Fund||1949||20,734.51|
|Manitoba Relief Fund||1950||19.210.44|
|Holland Relief Fund||1953||29,985.32|
|Tamaulipas Relief Fund||1955||I8,024.42|
|Louisiana Hurricane Relief||1965||59,395.54|
|Italy Flood Relief||1967||20,008.68|
|Philippine Flood Relief||1972||5,960.00|
|Niearagua Earthquake Relief||1973||13,696.60|
|Mississippi Flood Relief||1979||80,560.63|
|Dominican Republic Disaster||1979||32,859.55|
Hospital Visitation Program: 7/1/46-12/31/87 $9,456,046.00
HOSPITAL VISITATION PROGRAM
Perhaps the best known of all the MSA Programs is the Hospital Visitation Program which provides assistance and service to our sick or wounded veterans and is truly "Freemasonry working at its very best!"
The Masonic Service Association of the United States conducts an active Hospital Visitation Program in more than 140 Veterans Administration Medical Centers, several state operated Veterans Homes, and in a number of Military Hospitals, using hundreds of volunteers who contribute more than one half million volunteer hours of service each year. This program is wholly financed by the voluntary contributions of Masons and Masonic bodies. More than nine million dollars have been expended in the operation of this Program since 1946.
Its hard to describe this program. You really have to experience it to realize the warmth and love shown by our Hospital Visitors to both patients and hospital staff and the same affection shown in return!
Grand Lodge officers routinely visit V.A. Hospitals during their term of office. As a Past Grand Master this "official duty" was also performed by me. However, it was done with so many other things on my mind that the full importance of what was occurring didn't come to me at the time. Only later when visiting as a "helper" did the full impact of our great and good work in the hospitals become more apparent.
You have to see a patient on several occasions before they come to trust you and share with you their hopes and fears. No one wants to be in the hospital. Our job is to make an unpleasant occurrence have real meaning to the patients. To tell them that they are not alone.
When a family arrives at a V.A. Hospital not knowing what will happen to their loved one; no place to stay, no where to turn; you can bet a Masonic Hospital Visitor will be there to help them.
When a patient can't communicate in a normal way, such as speaking or writing, a hospital visitor tries to understand the patient's needs and help them make themselves understood.
When a patient has no one to turn to; no one to care; no one to confide in; the Masonic Hospital Visitor fills that lonesome void and in most cases is able to be of real comfort and help to the patient.
The Masonic Hospital Visitation Program, working on behalf of all Freemasons, gives us an excellent opportunity to let the community at large understand what a "great heart" our fraternity truly has!
The next time someone says to you "Freemasons really need a national charitable program" rest assured that it already has one. It is a program that is making a tremendous contribution to those who answered our nation's call! When the call came to serve our nation, our veteran's answered with pride and dedication. Now it is our turn to answer their call for someone to care! Do we dare not answer them with the same pride and dedication?
The Masonic Service Association of the United States salutes all Freemasons for making this outstanding program possible!
This then is a brief outline of the MSA story. We are here solely to serve Freemasonry through our many and varied programs.
We do these things in your name!