THE MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION
This Short Talk Bulletin is dedicated to the
employees and Field Agents of the Masonic Service
Association of the U.S. who bring to the Freemasons,
their families and the public at large; information,
dedication, caring and service. It is intended to bring
you the MSA story.
Richard E. Fletcher, Editor
We hope you like our new look!
This logo is now the official insignia of the Masonic Service
Association of the United States. Using the Square and Compasses,
widely recognized as the visible symbol of Freemasonry, we have
added the Book of Knowledge and the Eternal Flame.
Both of these symbols are visible expressions of MSA
involvement with the Masonic Fraternity and the public at
The Book of Knowledge symbolizes learning and faith since
knowledge is available both through reading books and reading The
Book or The Holy Bible, the rule and guide of our faith!
The Eternal Flame symbolizes hope and is best expressed through
the hope given to patients by our Hospital Visitors through our
National Hospital Visitation Program.
Hope is also given to those who have suffered natural
catastrophes and have had an appeal made on their behalf through
our Disaster Relief Program.
WHAT IS THE MSA?
The Masonic Service Association of the United States was formed
in 1919 to provide services to its member Grand Lodges that they
would find it difficult to provide for themselves.
Thus the national voice that the MSA has is dedicated to
SERVICE to the Masonic community.
Our statement of purpose is:
THE MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES IS A
SERVANT OF FREEMASONRY. FORMED OF AND SUPPORTED BY AMERICAN
GRAND LODGES, IT IS A VOICE THEY MAY COMMAND TO SPEAK, A HAND
THEY CAN MOVE TO ACTION, THAT THE GREAT HEART OF THE FRATERNITY
BE MADE MANIFEST AND THAT THE WILL OF A UNITED CRAFT MAY BE DONE.
We do not have, nor do we seek, jurisdictional authority of any
kind! Our purpose is not to set policy, issue edicts, or
otherwise become involved in Masonic jurisprudence or law-making.
That is the responsibility of each sovereign Grand Jurisdiction!
What we are and what we do will be described in the following
Feel free to contact the MSA for a copy of our Catalog which
lists our publications, films and videotapes available to
Freemasons throughout the country.
Our best known publication is the Short Talk Bulletin sent to
all lodges and Grand Lodge officers in our member
jurisdictions. We also mail this publication to our large
subscriber list. This booklet is published each month on a
Masonic or Masonic related subject. We now have over 700 issues
We also have digests on many subjects such as the "Think Tank
For Junior Wardens", "How to Dress Up Your Speech" and
"Leadership" to name a few. These digests are intended to make
Freemasons more knowledgeable as they develop their leadership
Several video tapes and films, usually for any audience, can be
rented or purchased. Some of these films and tapes were prepared
by Grand Lodges and made available to the MSA for wider
distribution, while others were produced by the MSA itself.
The Association, after investigation, issues appeals to
Masonic bodies throughout the United States and Canada for funds
to relieve the human needs of Masons and their families resulting
from disaster and catastrophes. The administrative costs of such
appeals are absorbed by the Association. All relief funds
collected are forwarded to the Grand Lodge in the afflicted
area for distribution to those in need.
The following list gives an idea of the many catastrophes to
which MSA has responded on behalf of the Grand Lodges of the
United States and Canada.
SUMMARY OF MASONIC RELIEF
Japanese Earthquake Relief, 1923 1,577.25
Florida Hurricane, 1926 114,236.97
Mississippi Valley Flood, 1927 608,291.91
Puerto Rico Hurricane, 1928 86,316.58
Florida Hurricane, 1928 107,622.14
Kentucky Flood, 1937 33,771.01
Austrian Relief Fund, 1938 5,202.36
Chilean Earthquake, 1939 7,387.27
Masonic Service Centers,
1941 to June 30, 1946 1,538,334.42
Philippine Relief Fund, 1945 46,798.46
European Masonic Relief,
1946 to December 31, 1955 206,780.51
Ecuador Relief Fund, 1949 20,734.51
Manitoba Relief Fund, 1950 19,210.44
Holland Relief Fund, 1953 29,985.32
Tamaulipas Relief Fund, 1955 18,024.42
Miscellaneous Relief, 1958 1,000.00
Chilean Relief, 1960 11,436.75
Cuban Relief, 1961-62 54,718.90
Louisiana Hurricane Relief, 1965 59,395.54
Italy: Flood Relief, 1967 20,008.68
Mississippi Relief, 1969 87,367.33
Peru Relief, 1970 19,220.82
Philippine Flood Relief, 1972 5,960.00
Nicaragua Earthquake Relief, 1973 13,696.60
Honduran Relief, 1974 7,320.00
Guatemala Relief, 1976 66,130.26
Mississippi Flood Relief, 1979 80,560.63
Dominican Republic Disaster, 1979 32,859.55
Chilean Earthquake, 1985 36,927.00
Florida Hurricane, 1985 20,244.00
Mexico Earthquake, 1985 6,220.00
Columbian Earthquake, 1985 100.00
Chilean Flood, 1987 32,500.00
Hospital Visitation Program,
HOSPITAL VISITATION PROGRAM
Perhaps the best known of all the MSA Programs is the
Hospital Visitation Program which provides assistance and service
to our sick or wounded veterans and is truly "Freemasonry working
at its very best!"
The Masonic Service Association of the United States conducts
an active Hospital Visitation Program in more than 140 Veterans
Administration Medical Centers, several state operated Veterans
Homes, and in a number of Military Hospitals, using hundreds of
volunteers who contribute more than one half million volunteer
hours of service each year. This program is wholly financed by
the voluntary contributions of Masons and Masonic bodies. More
than nine million dollars have been expended in the operation of
this Program since 1946.
Its hard to describe this program. You really have to
experience it to realize the warmth and love shown by our
Hospital Visitors to both patients and hospital staff and the
same affection shown in return!
Grand Lodge officers routinely visit V.A. Hospitals during
their term of office. As a Past Grand Master this "official duty"
was also performed by me. However, it was done with so many
other things on my mind that the full importance of what was
occurring didn't come to me at the time. Only later when visiting
as a "helper" did the full impact of our great and good work in
the hospitals become more apparent.
You have to see a patient on several occasions before they come
to trust you and share with you their hopes and fears. No one
wants to be in the hospital. Our job is to make an unpleasant oc-
currence have real meaning to the patients. To tell them that
they are not alone.
When a family arrives at a V.A. Hospital not knowing what will
happen to their loved one; no place to stay, no where to turn;
you can bet a Masonic Hospital Visitor will be there to help
When a patient can't communicate in a normal way, such as
speaking or writing, a hospital visitor tries to understand the
patient's needs and help them make themselves understood.
When a patient has no one to turn to; no one to care; no one to
confide in; the Masonic Hospital Visitor fills that lonesome void
and in most cases is able to be of real comfort and help to the
The Masonic Hospital Visitation Program, working on behalf of
all Freemasons, gives us an excellent opportunity to let the
community at large understand what a "great heart" our fra-
ternity truly has!
The next time someone says to you "Freemasons really need a
national charitable program" rest assured that it already has
one. It is a program that is making a tremendous contribution
to those who answered our nation's call! When the call came to
serve our nation, our veteran's answered with pride and
dedication. Now it is our turn to answer their call for someone
to care! Do we dare not answer them with the same pride and
The Masonic Service Association of the United States salutes
all Freemasons for making this outstanding program possible!
This then is a brief outline of the MSA story. We are here
solely to serve Freemasonry through our many and varied programs.
We do these things in your name!