Merchantville Lodge #119 F&AM
Dia Duit Brethren!
What does “dia duit” mean? It is a traditional Irish greeting that means “May God be with you”. I mention an Irish greeting this month for the obvious reason, Saint Patrick’s Day, however there is a connection between the Irish Grand Lodge and a group of men of color led by a Brother named Prince Hall.
In 1775 Prince Hall and 14 others were initiated into Masonry through Lodge No. 441 of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. This was a military lodge attached to the 38th British Foot Infantry at Castle William Island, Boston Harbor. It was the first time Black men were made Masons in America.
When the 38th left America in 1776 Brother Hall became Worshipful Master of African Lodge and his lodge was granted a permit to walk in procession on St. John’s Day. In September of 1784 the Grand Lodge of England issued a charter to African Lodge #459; the first lodge of Blacks in America. Worshipful Brother Hall then proceeded to become Provincial Grand Master in 1791.
Prince Hall Masonry as it is known today is an example of motivated men who want to do good in their community and for themselves; and being able to gather without prejudice among them. We are fortunate to be part of a jurisdiction that has a healthy relationship with our Prince Hall Brethren.
The Grand Lodge of NJ is also expanding the idea that Brethren having a common goal of meeting without prejudice among them by creating our Spanish and Portuguese Lodges. Behold, how good and pleasant it is when Brothers dwell in unity!
May the Grand Architect be with You!