By Times Staff
Gloucester Daily Times
---- — Joining with Masonic lodges across Massachusetts, Freemasons who meet regularly at two Cape Ann locations will be opening their doors to visitors Saturday in their annual spring open celebration.
Both the Gloucester Masonic Lodge at 27 Eastern Ave. and the Manchester Masons lodge at 10 Church St., behind Town Hall, will welcome visitors Saturday 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Those are two of more than 230 lodges throughout the state that will be hosting open houses in the Masons’ effort to help the public gain a better understanding of what Freemasonry is — and the positive impact that it has on its members, their families, and community. Members will provide tours of their building, talk about Freemasonry’s history, discuss its rituals and symbols, and explain what the organizations do and why.
“Cape Ann is especially fortunate to have two very strong Lodges where Masons meet regularly and host a wide variety of community-service efforts,” said local Mason Eric Bergengren, who serves as treasurer of the Manchester Lodge and is a past master of the Tyrian-Ashler-Acacia Lodge in Gloucester. “For men looking for ways to give back to their community and world, Masonry is a great place to look — and exciting.”
Throughout the open house, officers and members of the lodges will welcome visitors and prospective members alike.
“The 2013 spring open house is a great opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about Freemasonry to meet and talk with Masons in their community,” said Richard J. Stewart, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts and the presiding officer of 35,000 members. “Although many have heard of us, very few are aware that for over 275 years we have been part of an unbroken tradition of great men who have changed our world in ways both big and small.”
Past Masons down through times have included Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thurgood Marshall, John Glenn, and countless others.
“All joined the masons prior to achieving the greatness we recognize them for,” said Stewart. “There are countless other great men, whose names are not widely known, that made their families, workplaces, and communities better because they were masons. I warmly invite the public to join us on April 6.”
Freemasons trace their roots to the stonemason guilds that built Europe’s cathedrals and castles during the early part of the last millennium.
Freemasonry was formally organized in London, England in 1717. In 1733 it was formally organized in Massachusetts, making it the oldest Masonic group in the Western Hemisphere and the third oldest in the world. In 2008, Massachusetts Freemasons celebrated their 275th anniversary.