Masonic Funeral Service

This service is from the ritual of Holland Lodge No. 8, F&AM, New York City, United States of America.

(All Brethren participating wear dark suits with plain white aprons and white gloves, with a sprig of acacia pinned to their lapel)

(When the clergyman gives the sign, the WM moves to the head of the coffin and faces the congregation, with his back to the altar. The SW and SD stand on the right of the WM, beside and facing the coffin; the JW and JD on the left of the WM also facing the coffin. Any other Officers present follow suit until the coffin is lined on both sides. Brethren line up two by two in the aisle facing the coffin)

(WM carries a white apron in his hands)

WM — My Brothers, we are gathered here this (morning, afternoon, etc.) to perform the last Masonic rites for our departed Brother (Full Name), who was raised in Holland Lodge on (Date) Anno Lucis and dies on (Date) Anno Domini.

(WM advances one pace toward coffin holding apron towards coffin, addressing the deceased Brother)

My Brother, this lambskin or white leathern apron was presented to you upon your being made a Mason, as an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Mason, yours to keep, and to cherish as an everpresent reminder of a purity of life, and a never ending incentive to nobler deeds, to higher thoughts and to greater achievements. Once more I place it with you...,

(WM places apron on coffin) go with you to your final resting place. And as you stand before the Great White Throne above, there to receive judgement for deeds done here below, may it be your joyous portion to hear from Him, who sitteth as Judge Supreme, those welcome words: "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!"

(WM removes sprig of acacia from his lapel and holds it towards the coffin)

WM — This sprig of acacia is an emblem of our abiding faith in the immortality of the soul. By it we are reminded that we have an immortal part within us which will survive the grave and which will never, never, never die. This emblem I also place with you, my Brother.

(WM places sprig on the coffin. SW and Officers place their sprigs on the coffin, each saying as they do so, "My Brother." The remainder of the Brethren then file around the coffin counter-clockwise, depositing their sprigs and each saying "My Brother," then returning to their original places)

WM — To the grave we consign his body. We cherish his memory in our hearts, and his spirit we commend unto God who gave it. For inasmuch as Almighty God, in his infinite wisdom, has seen fit to take out of this world the spirit of our departed Brother (first name only) we therefore commit his body to the grave...

WM — Earth to Earth. SW — Ashes to Ashes. JW — Dust to Dust.

(Each extends his right hand over the coffin as he speaks, then all withdraw hands with the WM)

WM — ...In the sure and certain knowledge that he has been summoned by the Supreme Architect of the Universe to that spiritual temple, that house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens.

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Recessional procedure should be discussed in advance with officiating clergy. There are two common procedures. The first is used when the religious service is to continue for some time after the conclusion of the Masonic portion, and the second when the Masonic Service essentially concludes the entire program:

(a) At the end of the Masonic Rite, the Masons return to their seats in the reverse order in which they left them earlier. Thus the second pew of Masons returns first, and the first pew of Masons second, leaving the WM and other Officers once again on the aisle. After the glergyman and coffin have passed up the aisle, at the conclusion of the service, the Masons follow the coffin as honorary pallbearers, WM and the first pew of Masons in the lead, forming pairs as they leave the pew. The Masons may or may not form a line in the narthex or church vestibule, after the family, according to the wishes of the family. The WM should safeguard the apron of the deceased before the coffin is taken from the church.

(b) WM leads out, followed by Officers and then by the remainder of the Brethren. If there is room in the aisle they line each side; if not, they arrange themselves in the vestibule until the coffin passes.

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This service can and often is slightly modified according to the wishes of the family and the clergy officiating. An alternative procedure has this service beginning the program before the entrance of the clergy and the beginning of the regular religious service, but this has not yet been tested.