The Masonic Funeral Service
South Dakota Lodge of Masonic Research
An important part of Masonry is the funeral service offered a departed Brother. This should be granted to a Brother is he had requested the service, or if his family has. It is the responsibility of the Master of the Lodge to contact the deceased member’s family to ascertain if Masonic services are desired. However, a close Brother to the family may also make inquiry of their wishes, and then advise the Master who then should contact the family.
All Masonic Brothers should consider attending the services of a departed Brother. Although, a Brother might not be personally acquainted with the deceased, he is still a Brother, and as such, known to be an honorable man deserving of our final respect.
The Masonic service may be done at the grave or inside at the church. These arrangements are to be made in concert with the family and Master. The Brother Masons should gather together prior to the service and receive instructions from the Master as to the procedures to be followed during the service including the proper way of giving the “funeral honors,” depositing the evergreen, and circumambulation of the grave, if at the cemetery.
Brothers attending Masonic services may see some variation in the presentations. The South Dakota ritual-monitor allows that since circumstances might be different on certain occasions, the presenter can make appropriate alterations. What cannot be altered are three matters that are essential, the deposit of the apron, the tribute of the acacia, and the funeral honors.
The apron was the first gift of Masonry to the Brother. It is not uncommon that that particular apron cannot be found. In such cases, the Lodge will provide an apron, and that apron will be placed on his grave. It would be advisable if each Brother discuss his wishes regarding a Masonic funeral with his family.