California Lodge Charity
One of the primary tenants of Freemasonry is relief. In layman’s terms, this is synonymous with charity. Masons are pledged to assist one another in times of difficulty. They are obligated to care for the widows and orphans of fallen brethren, and lend a helping hand to other Masons in trouble.
Since the mid-nineteenth century, American Masons have extended this charitable attitude to society in general. As the country pioneered the west, Masons were predominant in founding towns, and especially schools. The first college for women in America was founded by Masons in Texas, and what we now know as public schools were originally “free schools” founded by Masons across the country. Prior to this development, nearly all schools in America were private, and required the payment of tuition in exchange for even primary education. Masons founded their “free schools” as a way of expressing their belief that all men are created equal, and that education was fundamental to society as a whole.
In these days of tight budgets and declining funding for public schools, Masons have again stepped into the breach in their support of free public education for all.
California Lodge No. 1 is no exception. In 2008, our lodge “adopted” Jose Ortega Elementary School. Under the leadership of Worshipful John Bermudez, who was Master of the lodge in that year, California Lodge selected Jose Ortega for support. Jose Ortega was geographically the closest elementary school to our lodge building. The support offered to Jose Ortega by California Lodge involves direct financial support, participation in their annual auction and celebration, and visitations by our lodge members to their events. In addition, Jose Ortega’s representatives and staff are frequent guests at our Stated Meeting Dinners, where they announce upcoming events and solicit and express thanks for our ongoing support.
California Lodge takes great pride in our support for these deserving children, who represent the future of our society. As a result of our ongoing support, the local populace is exposed to Masonic principles and the truth of what Masonry really means. We hope that, as these children gain maturity, they will have a beneficent thought when they, in future, see a square and compass displayed. As for California Lodge, our benefit is in realizing a better future for our community, which we see in the bright faces of appreciative youth.