I thought I’d take a few moments and speak with you about our current situation and plans for transitioning into reopening. On Monday evening January 11 we held an online Zoom meeting with most of the elected officers of the lodges in our Masonic District. We spoke openly about how each of the WM’s felt about our current challenges and how they felt about trying to hold meetings. The vast majority of the WM’s present did not feel safe conducting in person meetings as of yet. With that feedback received, we decided not to plan to have in person meetings for February.
The next day I received direction from RWGM Gamon that he was allowing Masonic activities to resume on February 1st statewide. He emphasized that he was allowing each DDGM to decide the correct and safe course of action for their respective Masonic Districts. Since I had just received feedback the previous evening, I sent out a communication to the WM’s informing them of the directive and reinforcing that we would be staying with our plans from the previous evenings meeting and would not be meeting in person in February.
Brethren I have admitted before that my abilities to predict the future, in regards to the pandemic, are limited. I wish I could give you all a definite date when we could all return to our lodges, but that is simply beyond my ability at this time. At the close of the last Zoom meeting, we agreed that we would meet again in an online setting sometime around the middle of February. We would reevaluate the case numbers as well as the reported community spread of the virus and determine the safest course of action. If the numbers support a reopening effort we will begin transitioning in that direction. If the numbers remain troubling, we will discuss other options.
We spoke about many other topics and challenges that we are all continuing to face. Our lodges and our membership have definitely suffered during this extended cessation of activities. We are a strong fraternal group whose members excel when we are able to work and gather together. I am certainly eagerly looking forward to the day when we get to return to some form of normal operations. In the meantime, it is imperative upon our lodge leadership to remain in contact with our members. This especially includes our newer members who have been delayed in their process of advancing during this shutdown. Most of our lodges have also received inquiries from men who are interested in our fraternity but have not been able to begin the petitioning process yet. It is equally important to stay in contact with these individuals to continue fostering their interest.
I have asked, and highly encouraged, each of the WM’s to schedule an online meeting on the normal Stated Meeting nights. These meetings can go a long way towards filling the void that a lot of our members are feeling. Many of our District Lodges have been doing this for a while now, and it has been working well. They are even getting attendance from members they haven’t seen in the lodge building for a long time but have been eagerly joining these online meetings to stay in touch with their lodge brothers. These meetings can still include lodge announcements as well as a program or speaker. The meeting can be run very similar to the regular stated meeting, just remember that no ritual may be performed on the online setting. I have joined many of these meetings and they have been greatly enjoyed by the brethren. Please strongly consider scheduling one of these online meetings for February if your lodge hasn’t already done so. If any of the WM’s would like some assistance in planning or running this type of meeting, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
I have said before that we are all very fortunate to be part of the strongest and finest fraternal organization that mankind has ever known. Even during this extended shutdown, I still stand behind that statement 100%. We are all stronger and more determined than any global pandemic. When it is safe for our membership to return to our labors, I am sure that we will all work together to restart our lodges and promote the core values of our beloved craft to our fellow brothers and our community as a whole.
Please be assured that every decision made about when and how to reopen our lodges will be made with the utmost consideration for the health, safety and welfare of our membership. Our membership is our most prized possession, and our decisions must be inspired by what is best for all of the brethren. I am very eager to greet each of you in your respective lodges just as soon as we are safely able to do so. In the meantime, we will continue to see each other on our computer screens.
I wish continued health to all and eagerly look forward to seeing you all soon.
Warmest Fraternal Regards,
Darrin D, Catts
District Grand Master
42nd Masonic District
Grand Lodge of PA
Brethren of the 42nd Masonic District,
In accordance with existing directives from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, ALL Masonic events are cancelled effective immediately. This will include stated meetings, anniversaries, seminars, etc. This step is being taken out an abundance of caution in response to the COVID-19 virus and to prevent unnecessary exposure for any of our members. This is an evolving situation and as I receive further information or directions, I will get them out to the membership ASAP. Please keep an eye on the District Facebook page for updates as I receive them.
Darrin D. Catts
District Deputy Grand Master
42nd Masonic District
Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania
UPDATE: On April 2, 2020, the RWGM of Pennsylvania sent out an update.
UPDATE: On May 1, 2020, the RWGM of Pennsylvania sent out another update.
UPDATE: We have received a new update on 13 May 2020.
Welcome to the homepage of Gettysburg Freemasons hosted by Good Samaritan Lodge #336, Free & Accepted Masons. We are located on the square in historic downtown Gettysburg, PA, and are a part of the 42nd Masonic District under the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
Please feel free to also check us out at the links below on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for up to the minute news, items of general Masonic interest, and Lodge announcements.