N.B. Masons celebrate 225 years

Celebration on Saturday to involve 100 masons from around N.B. and N.S.

One of the oldest fraternities in the world, the Masonic Order of Free and Accepted Masons, will celebrate its 225th year in New Brunswick this weekend with a celebration on Saturday afternoon at St. Ed’s Hall in Dorchester.

About 100 masons from across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are expected to participate in the event, which features lectures, presentations and a banquet.

W.G. Macx Macnichol, secretary for the masons’ Sussex Lodge #4 and editor for the masons’ Mostly Masonry magazine, says it’s a celebration of “the longevity of a philosophy.”

“Masons must have satisfied the minds of a lot of men to extend an organization that long,” he says. “And to think that people would travel by stage coach, on foot to attend a lodge meeting back 225 years ago, the fraternity must have meant a tremendous lot to these men that did this.

“And over the 225 years, the amount of good they’ve done in communities throughout New Brunswick is probably incalculable.”

He points out that lodges throughout the province support various community functions and charities throughout the year, including Camp Goodtime on Grand Lake, which hosts a yearly summer camp for children suffering from cancer in association with the New Brunswick Cancer Society.

Masons raise $35,000 each year for the camp to host the children.

Macnichol, who has been a member of the fraternity for 18 years, still considers himself a “newbie” in the organization because some members in the province have been part of the group for as long as 70 years.

He says the goal of the organization is “to make a good man better,” and any man of good rapport can become a mason.

The fraternity by definition isn’t open to women, but the masons have ties to co-ordinate bodies such as the Women’s Eastern Star.

Saturday’s event will kick off with registration at noon at St. Ed’s Hall, 4955 Main St. in Dorchester. A formal meeting open only to masons will take place early in the afternoon and a banquet takes place at about 4 p.m.

Anyone curious about masonry can stop by to ask questions of masons during the banquet. A meal will be served for $15.

Miles Graham, grand master of masons in New Brunswick, will attend Saturday’s event along with Tantramar MLA Mike Olscamp, Dorchester Mayor Mel Goodland and Sackville Mayor Pat Estabrooks.

Students from Tantramar High School will help with the catering of the banquet and the masons plan to give the school a donation for their efforts. Masonry has been around since sometime in the 1600s. The fraternity in New Brunswick boasts 35 active lodges with over 3,500 members and its grand lodge is located in Saint John.

Celebration on Saturday to involve 100 masons from around N.B. and N.S. One of the oldest fraternities in the world, the Masonic Order of Free and Accepted Masons, will celebrate its 225th year in New Brunswick this weekend with a celebration on Saturday afternoon at St. Ed’s Hall in Dorchester. About 100 masons from across…