Pennsylvania Masons are answering the call for disaster relief on several fronts: financial, humanitarian, and with solace, motivation, and patriotism. In leading the way for the multi-pronged program, R.W. Grand Master Robert L. Dluge, Jr. appropriately proclaimed the efforts to be "Pennsylvania Freemasons ­ Keeping the Promise of America," reviving R.W.P.G.M. W. Scott Stoner's program theme of a decade ago.

Immediately after the tragedies in New York City, Washington and the Somerset area of Pennsylvania, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania first assured the security of all Masonic facilities. The Grand Master issued an immediate dispensation to allow worshipful masters to cancel lodge meetings and Masonic functions for 48 hours.

Financial ­ The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania immediately began formulating a comprehensive direct emergency relief plan. At the same time, without delay, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania responded with an initial contribution to the united disaster relief efforts of the Grand Lodge of New York and the Grand Lodge of Virginia.

"We have established the Masonic Charities Disaster Relief Fund (in Pennsylvania) to help the victims and their families," said Grand Master Dluge, "especially those who have ties to Pennsylvania Masons." As soon as logistics for establishing the fund were in place, a letter with a contribution form and return envelope was sent to every Pennsylvania Mason. Recognizing the magnitude and potential long-term need, Grand Master Dluge said, "There is obvious need for funds to meet our responsibilities to our brethren, our friends and our neighbors. I am asking for your immediate help . . . ."

(The Masonic Charities Disaster Relief Fund contribution form is reproduced in case you did not receive the Grand Master's letter, or misplaced the form, just click here and print the page. Your contribution is tax-deductible.)

Humanitarian ­ The Masonic Homes Outreach Program is the focal point for helping, both in finding assistance for those in need and in steering volunteers to where their specific help is needed. The Outreach Program can provide information and referral services to all Americans who are in need and also may provide financial assistance to Pennsylvania Masons and their families. For information and assistance call Outreach at 1 (800) 462-7664.

Solace, motivation, and patriotism­ At the request of Grand Master Dluge, the Rev. Bro. A. Preston Van Deursen, Director of Pastoral Care at the Masonic Homes, offered and communicated a prayer of solace and vigil to comfort and spiritually energize a nation and brotherhood in the throes of tragedy and grief. A vigil ceremony was created and distributed to all of the lodges to conduct during their October stated meetings.