Community

Celebrate Central’s Masons

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By Mia Freneaux

    The Central Masonic Lodge has a long history of service to our community.  According to Harold Ballard, Past Grand Master of the State of Louisiana and Central resident, the first gathering of Masons in Central occurred in 1953.  Brother Smith, principal of Central High School, allowed the group to meet at the school initially.  Then the Denham Springs Lodge offered their space until the Central Lodge could acquire a place to meet.  On October 9, 1954, the Central Lodge was chartered.  Brothers joined to build the building on Sullivan Road which is used still today. 

    The Masons have always been a Fraternal Order.  One of the requirements for membership is a belief in God.  Another is that those interested in joining must ask to become a member, based on the tenet “Seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened”.  Masons cannot ask people to join.  However, they do hold “Bring a Friend” nights where interested men can come and learn about Freemasonry.  Anyone interested in joining can call the Grand Lodge at 318-443-5610, or just ask someone who is in the organization.  There are presently 141 members of Central’s Lodge.  Masons are also welcome to come when the Masons meet on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month at 7:30, or to Practice, which occurs on the 1st and 3rd Mondays.

     The Central Lodge has been a service organization from the start.  They began by supporting the Alexandria Children’s Home, providing funding for children there all the way through college.  Most recently, they have been involved in the “Honesty and Integrity Award”, granted 11th and 12th grade students who epitomize these virtues.  Teachers, clergy, counselors, and Masons may nominate students for this award, now almost a decade old.  The Masons also provide necessary financial help to many local needs.  Most impressively, for 11 years now, the Masons of Central have been supporting the Dyslexic Training Program of the Masonic Learning Center of Louisiana.  This 2 year program helps children with dyslexia learn in a small class environment.  This program was developed 25 years ago at the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders at the Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, Texas.  Young children take 350 hours of classes (one hour for every day school is in session) and older children take 135 hours.  Louisiana certified teachers are there to help facilitate the classes, which are taught using DVDs.  According to Rev. Brady Forman, who is in charge of the program here in Central, 37 students have gone through the class, with a group of 4 more ready to graduate in March or April.  The Central Masonic Lodge teams with Trinity Union Lodge #372 to support each class by contributing 1200.00 and supplying all administration  The State Grand Lodge pays the balance of $17,675.00.  This breaks down to about $2,945.00 per student, all supported by the Masons.  This money covers the program expenses and materials, the teachers’ salaries, and psychological evaluation fees. No child is ever charged a penny to participate.  For more information on this wonderful opportunity, contact Rev. Forman at 261-9010.  Central is fortunate to have such dedicated people as part of our community!

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