UPDATED April 10, 2020
The situation and public response to COVID-19 changes by the hour. Public health experts are recommending social distancing as society’s best action to mitigate the impact of hospitals being overwhelmed and greater numbers of people falling seriously ill. Gov. Charlie Baker announced restrictions on public meetings of greater than 25 people, restaurants are closed for table service, and schools and many public services are closed for the time being.
We take these public health concerns and the well-being of our members seriously, and as a result, Orient Lodge will cancel its April 13 and May 11 monthly communications, as well as all Masonic activity that was on our calendar between now and then, including officer rehearsals. The district has also cancelled the March 23 and April 27 Lodges of Instruction and the April 11 Easter egg hunts.
After announcing a suspension of all Masonic activity in the jurisdiction on March 10, M.W. Maggio rescinded that suspension the next day, allowing Masonic activities within the jurisdiction to resume provided the presiding officer determines it is the prudent and responsible thing to do.
It is under this guidance that Orient Lodge’s April and May communications were cancelled, believing it is most prudent to follow the advice of public health officials and continue to respect social distancing practices.
Our monthly communication on June 8 is our next scheduled meeting, though we will continue to assess the recommendations of public health officials. We will offer the Master Masons degree for our two candidates at a special communication to occur during the summer.
Our Masonic work, however, continues.
Several brothers from our lodge are taking seriously the threat that COVID-19 poses to older people and people with compromised immune or respiratory systems. They may find it challenging to shop for groceries, get their prescriptions, or access other services while at home.
To that end, we want to connect with every member of Orient Lodge in the coming days, to check in on our brothers and their families and see how we may be of service. Several Masons stand ready to help others with home projects, grocery and pharmacy runs, or anything else you may need. This is in keeping with M.W. Richard Maggio’s request that we contact members and check on their well-being, and particularly look after our elderly brethren and widows to assure they are safe and have enough food and supplies.
Please help us get a jump on our work by answering this very short survey, or otherwise responding to this email. Take a minute to let us know how you are, and if you’d like a brother to check in on you or assist you in any way in the coming days and weeks. If you’re available to help, you can also indicate so in our survey.
Many of our brothers enjoy coming to lodge for meaningful social connection; to that end, you’ll see an option in the survey asking for regular check-in calls from other brothers. Please let us know if telephone calls would be welcome in lieu of the opportunity to meet at lodge and break bread together.
We are also joining with other Masonic lodges and appendant bodies in Norwood to support local efforts to feed local hospital staff and first responders during their shifts.
In closing, we are aware that some may be skeptical of the severe, perhaps draconian measures being taken by public officials, but trends in other countries have shown that action can reduce the rate of infection, and inaction may have serious consequences. Let’s support each other during this difficult time.
You may track statements from M.W. Maggio related to Coronavirus at https://massfreemasonry.org/coronavirus-messaging/
COVID-19 updates on Mass.gov: https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
COVID-19 updates from Norwood municipal government:
Orient Lodge's blog is written by Officers, Members and other contributors who observe the craft. This blog is used to update our members on upcoming events, past events, meeting recaps or other Masonic endeavors. Please feel free to comment or add to any discussion or even ask a questions about Orient or Freemasonry in general.