The Ritualist Certificate Program is a concept and a program to help preserve quality ritual for candidates, promote visitation, and provide Lodges with good Ritualists. It consists of an information sheet about what’s happening in the District, a record of enrollment with an outline of points, reward certificates with 3 levels of achievement, a presentation ceremony, along with a District Chairman to be a central clearing house for the program. We will be trying this program in Ottawa District 1 on a trial basis.
The program will be a District initiative. It does not incur work at the Grand Lodge level or a financial burden on the District or individual Lodges, other than printing certificates. One Chairman in the District collects the applicant's name and sends out the ritual record of enrolment to the participants through the Lodge secretaries. Once a certificate is required, the Secretary of the participant's Lodge will print the certificate from files provided to him along, with the script for presentation in open Lodge. The secretary will then report to the District Chair the applicant's progress. The presentation of the second and third certificates will be similar to the first. Participation will be measured annually by tallying points and certificates accumulated through the District Chairman. This report will be forwarded to the District Deputy Grand Master for inclusion in his report, and to determine continuation of the initiative the following year.
The certificates feature the official Masonic logo of Ontario, coloured bronze, silver and gold. They will have: Ritualist, Senior Ritualist and Master Ritualist placed on a banner on the lower third of the logo.
The Ritual Record of Enrolment document is broken down to the most basic of ritual parts to be as inclusive as possible to allow for the different ways ritual is assigned by various lodges. The point structure is roughly broken down to 10 points per page of ritual. Some pieces are weighted heavier or lighter to encourage work on less common parts, or to reduce the call for more familiar or easily filled parts.
Lodges will be asked for their monthly programs in order to be included in a "Lodge Alert" bulletin. This will be a proactive information sheet including upcoming events in each Lodge. This is actually a key to the success of the project. This bulletin can assist Lodges that may need pieces of ritual covered, and allow people in the program to travel to the Lodge to give the work. Results from this symbiotic relationship will mean: more people to pool the work from, better ritual for the candidate, increased visitation, and potentially new membership as people participating will tell non-Masons about the Lodge with the hope they will ask to join and perpetuate the cycle.
The idea of increasing the pool of Ritualists is to get the best ritual for the candidates who are why we are there in the first place. Should a Master or Lodge Ritual Master put out the call, participants can offer their services on a first-come, first-served basis, or offer to be a back-up as needed. Lodge pride or ego needs to be put aside for the benefit of the candidates. The days when we had lodges of 150 members are over. We have shrinking numbers, getting outside help is becoming a necessity, we might as well embrace a program that could help reverse the decline.
The point structure is set to regular memory work done in Lodge, and points are collected after the third successful presentation of the piece. Points are retroactive to members who have done work before the program started on the honour system. The appropriate certificate will be awarded on receipt of the points claimed from the ritual record of enrollment document issued. Points are also given if an officer of a Lodge does the part one time only (Officer Incentive encouraging participants to take a line office.). Points for any one piece are only awarded once. Another piece must be completed to get more points. Enough points are built into the passport that nobody has to follow the same path to become a Master Ritualist, however it still will not be easy to reach that level.
I hope you see the benefits of this program and endorse its implementation in this Masonic year. Artwork for the certificates is available using the following links, as well as a copy of the passport, and a suggested format for the award ceremony.
- Ritualist Certificate (PDF)
- Ritualist Certificate (Word)
- Senior Ritualist Certificate (PDF)
- Senior Ritualist Certificate (Word)
- Master Ritualist Certificate (PDF)
- Master Ritualist Certificate (Word)
- Ritualist Score Card (Excel)
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Q. How is the point structure broken down for awards?
A. Points are roughly broken down to 10 points a page. 300 points will earn a Ritualist Certificate. Add 500 points to that, or 800 points total, a Senior Ritualist Certificate is earned, followed by an additional 700 points, or 1500 total for a Master Ritualist Certificate
Q. What parts of ritual are included in the program?
A. All parts in the Book of the Work, also including the Installation and Investing of Officers short of the parts within the Board of Installed Masters.
Q. I am currently affiliated from a lodge in another province. Can I count ritual work conducted before I became an Ontario Mason?
A. We do count past work from other jurisdictions as long as they are similar to the work in our program.
Q. How many times must I give a part or lecture to earn the points?
A. Three times in Open Lodge.
Q. If a part has 90 points, may I take 30 points if I have given it once?
A. No. Only full points may be taken.
Q. I've given the JW lecture +20 times. How many points does that earn?
A. Repetitions beyond the required three (3), on any part, do not earn additional points.
Q. How long do I have to gather points to earn a certificate?
A. However long it takes. There are no time limits.
Q. I have been a Mason for over fifty (50) years. I was once very active in doing Ritual work, but have not done any in the past 10 years. Can I still earn points for work performed then?
A. Yes. As long as you gave the part, the required three times, you have earned the points. You are an honest Man. Points in this case are awarded on your honour.
Q. I was once proficient in doing the Ritual and gave the parts and lectures many times. Today, I am hard pressed to remember my address. May I still earn the points if I cannot give the parts today?
A. Yes. As long as you gave the part, the required three times, you have earned the points. We are very proud of our elder Ritualists, who have carried the load forever. This program is designed to recognize their efforts and reward them for their dedicated work. In addition, the focus of the Ritualist Program is to recruit and reward the up and coming Ritualists
Q. I am Senior Steward from a small Lodge. We only do degree work twice a year. At this rate I will have my Twenty-Five Years Pin before I have enough points to qualify for a Ritualist Certificate. What can I do to speed things up?
A. There is an answer. The Ritualist Program recognizes that being a Lodge officer takes effort and extra time. Therefore the Officer Reward will assist you. As an officer of the Lodge, you will earn full points for giving a part one time. This applies for all Lodge officers, both elected and appointed. Also travelling to other lodges to perform work is recognized as part of your work.
Q. May I earn points for parts given in other Lodges, or, are points only earned for parts given in my Lodge?
A. Yes, points may be taken. Points are earned, regardless of which Lodge or jurisdiction. Several Masons may have moved from other jurisdictions.
Q. I have accumulated 450 points and would like to enroll. Since Ritualist takes 300 points, what happens to the remaining 150 points?
A. Upon enrollment, record all of your qualifying points in the Passport. You will be awarded the Ritualist Certificate, based upon the qualifying 300 points. When you have earned the other 350 points, or a total of 800 points from starting, you may apply for the Senior Ritualist Pin.
Q. Why is it that some parts of the work, that are longer and more difficult, have less points than other parts that seem to be easier to learn and present?
A. When performing the work, we have several brothers who readily portray select parts. The reason for the difference is to put some low hanging fruit there to encourage brothers to present the lesser-manned roles. It is supply and demand economy when we do this. The end result is we will have more brothers qualified in more roles and we increase the base from which to recruit help, when needed.