Sunday, March 20, 2011
For those not familiar with a Lodge of Sorrow in South Carolina, the ceremony is not to be confused with a Masonic burial or memorial service. Masonic rites are delivered on the occasion of the internment of an individual Master Mason. The Lodge of Sorrow – though it can be convened for a single deceased Brother – is typically used to honor the memories of multiple Brothers and is not tied to the time of internment. In the Fourth District of South Carolina, a Lodge of Sorrow honors those that have passed during the previous year though, this year, Brothers that passed in 2009 and 2010 were remembered due to an unfortunate hiatus of the ceremony last year.
A Lodge of Sorrow is not esoteric and can be; therefore, open to people that are not Masons. In the case of the Fourth Masonic District’s annual Lodge of Sorrow, widows are specifically invited to the ceremony. It is a somber and beautiful occasion. Some even describe it as a bit morbid but the beauty of the ceremony still shines through. It can be an emotional experience for those in attendance – especially the family members of the deceased.
Most Masons have never witnessed a Lodge of Sorrow. Despite its beautiful and reflective nature, it requires much logistical planning and practice in order to properly perform the ceremony. It is most likely because of the time and work required that the Fourth Masonic District of South Carolina may be the only place that one can currently witness the event in the Palmetto State. The good news, however, is that interest in the ceremony is being revived. In fact, a District Deputy Grand Master from another District attended the ceremony and took notes back to his District. A seed may have been planted.