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2016-10-20

Bandera Masonic Lodge hosts open house

By Steven James BCC Editor

Bandera’s Masonic Lodge will host its first-ever open house Oct. 23 from 2 to 4 pm at the Lodge’s headquarters, located on State Highway 173 S.
Lodge Master Dan Mendez said the free event is happening because he wants the community to be more aware of the Lodge’s charity work, what the Lodge does in meetings without giving away ritual secrets and to ask any questions they may have about Masonic practices and teachings. People who attend will be served refreshments, see some of the Lodge’s symbolism and walk around the inside of the meeting building, Mendez said.
“Masonry teaches helping the less fortunate,” Mendez said. “The lodge does ask the brotherhood keep the teachings a secret. That’s partly because the things we learn wouldn’t benefit people if it were taken out of context. It also creates more interest in the Masonic learning.”
Freemasonry, which is restricted to men, is considered the oldest fraternal organization in the world, believed to have roots beginning in 1717, according to the Grand Lodge of Texas website. The main point of freemasonry is to take good men and make them better men, also according to the website.
Currently, Texas has 914 Lodges with 122,000 Masons, according to the Grand Lodge website.
Bandera’s Lodge is located in District 51, which also includes Lodges from Fredricksburg, Kerrville, Rising Star, Medina and Kendall.
In addition to coming forward out of his own will, the only other requirement to join is believing in a higher power, Mendez said. However, one is not expected to elaborate his beliefs past that, Mendez said.
“You believe what you believe and I believe what I want to believe in, and once we’re in open lodge, none of that is discussed,” Mendez said. “It doesn’t matter what religion you are, what race you are, it doesn’t matter your economic background. All men are equal.”
The Bandera Lodge, which has nearly 80 members, does a lot of charitable work in the area, he said.
Some of the charity and volunteering the Lodge does includes working with FAN-tastic Teeth to give toothbrushes to first grade students, giving free laptops and printers to fifth grade students at Alkek Elementary School and Hill Country Elementary School who win an essay contest hosted by the Lodge, annually giving a $1,000 scholarship to one Bandera High School senior, making briskets for the Bandera County Junior Livestock Show and helping at Shriners Hospital for Children, Mendez said. Funding charitable events and activities is mainly done through the annual rummage sale, Mendez said.
“A lot of people don’t know the charitable stuff that we do, and we don’t want to go out there and brag about it,” he said. “It is important for us to continually do it.”