I was appointed Junior Deacon in both of my Lodges this year. I’ve done the job before and it’s one of my favorite in the Blue Lodge.
(Officer jewels hang from collars, like this:)
The Junior Deacon fits into the Line of Officers thusly:
- Worshipful Master
- Senior Warden
- Junior Warden
- Senior Deacon
- Junior Deacon
- Senior Steward
- Junior Steward
So I’m fifth in command (lol). The primary duty of a Junior Deacon is to prepare and introduce candidates for Degrees. He reports directly to the Senior Warden.
When a candidate shows up for his Entered Apprentice Degree, he is seated outside the Lodge, usually in a lounge or library. The Senior Deacon and Secretary come out of the Lodge and approach him. The Secretary collects an initiation fee and the Senior Deacon asks a series of Constitutional Questions of the candidate to ensure that he is indeed willing to submit to the regulations of the Lodge. After they report back to the Lodge, the Junior Deacon (me) takes the two Stewards (Senior and Junior) and exits the Lodge.
The Junior Deacon approaches the candidate and gives his Address. This is my favorite piece of Masonic Ritual ever and it made a deep and lasting impression on me during my Entered Apprentice degree and has done so for every man to whom I have given it. I don’t believe it’d be prudent to print it here in cleartext but I will share one line with you:
Be assured that nothing will be required of you that does not tend toward your own good or toward the usefulness of your fellow man.
After this address (three paragraphs, approximately 35 seconds), I explain the requirements of preparation to the candidate. After he gives a positive assurance that he is willing to submit to the requirements of preparation, the Junior Deacon and Stewards lead him to an anteroom of the Lodge and properly prepare him to be Initiated an Entered Apprentice. The Junior Deacon is the last person he sees before he’s hoodwinked for initiation.
Shifting gears, I’ve also been admitted into the training program for becoming a Deacon in my church. I’m studying and practicing under the head Deacon (and Brother Mason) John Bennethum. The ELCA doesn’t formally have Deacons anymore and calls them “worship assistants.” But nobody in my church follows that and we call them Deacons and treat them as such: they wear the traditional alb, cincture, crucifix pendant, and sash (matching the Liturgical Color of the Day) of a Deacon. They lead the Kyrie, the Hymn of Praise, and the Prayer of the Day. They read the Lessons and lead the Psalmody. They also lead the Offertory and Offertory Prayer, and Prayers of Intercession. They assist in administering the Lord’s Supper, and at the end of service, dismiss the congregation. I won’t be a full-time Deacon and I won’t be on the Diaconal rotation for my church but I will be available as a “backup Deacon” and for off-time services like holidays, funerals, and such.
Before I can Deacon on my own, however, I first have to be a reader for one Sunday (done), sit with John one Sunday, assistant Deacon one Sunday, and Deacon four Sundays with John there to ensure that I do things the right way. After that’s done, then I go on the “reserve list” as it were.