Czechoslovak Society of America
This Ritual is intended for the sole use of our C.S.A. lodges and must, therefore, be considered as confidential.
The initiation of new members should be impressive and dignified. The first impression of the candidate is often the deciding factor in his or her future activity as a lodge member. It is the first and the most important step in gaining the confidence of the new member and his or her willingness to co-operate and to work gladly for the attainment of the lofty ideals of our Society: Equality, Harmony and Fraternity.
It is, therefore, necessary that the lodge officers, who are entrusted with the all important duty of initiating a new member or members, do everything in their power to make the occasion an outstanding success. This can be achieved only when the new member is properly and favorably impressed.
To be impressive the Ritual should be memorized by the respective officers.
It is recommended that wherever it is possible to do so, musical accompaniment should be used during an initiation. Piano accompaniment is very good and is used at practically all initiations.
At a ceremonial initiation of a larger group of new members it is recommended that the Ritual be performed by the Degree Team of either the Grand Lodge or any other lodge which is authorized by the Grand Lodge or Executive Committee to perform such initiation. Each ceremonial initiation should be performed together with an interesting and entertaining program, so that at such initiations the members of the lodge should see and hear something different. By these means the interest of the members in these ceremonials may be increased; and the attendance of a larger number of members at these initiations of new members into the Society may be attained.
Initiation of new members at meetings of our lodges is conducted in accordance with this short form of ritual whether at a regular meeting, or at a special meeting of the lodge called for that purpose. In every case the meeting is opened and closed in accordance with the instructions. The arrangement of the meeting room is in both cases the same.
When the lodge ballot is favorable as to the applicants and everything is in readiness the new members may be initiated. It is desirable to have the applicants assembled in the anteroom and one of the members should be charged with this duty, while the preparations for initiation are in progress.
The ceremony should be dignified, not only to impress the candidates favorably, but to inspire them to give their earnest co-operation in promoting the welfare of the Lodge and the Society. It is necessary that the officers—President, Vice-President, Guide and Sentry—study their parts faithfully and learn these by heart, if at all possible. If need be, any member who is well versed in the ceremony may be appointed to take the place of any officer above mentioned. To stutter or to needlessly repeat is embarrassing and certainly is not dignified. The first impression on the candidates is the most important and influential.
President takes his place at the appointed time. Gives one rap: Brothers and Sisters. I request that in full recognition of the dignity of the Society and our lodge we come to order. The officers will occupy their stations and the Sentry will close the door and allow no one to enter. When all officers are stationed, the President will give three raps and all present will rise.
President: Brother (Sister) Guide, you will advance to my station, give the annual password and proceed to collect it from all present.
Guide advances to the President and whispers to him the annual pass-word. Then he proceeds to each person present and receives the annual pass-word in a whisper. He reports those who do not know the pass-word to the President and directs them to the President to receive it. After examination of all present, the Guide will step in front of the altar and report to the President thus: Brother (Sister) President, I have examined all present and find them to be in possession of the annual pass-word;
Brother (Sister) President, I have examined all present, and excepting those I have reported to you, find them to be in possession of the annual pass-word.
President: Thank you, Brother (Sister) Guide. Gives one rap. The Guide will return to his station.
President: Brother (Sister) Sentry, your station is art the door. Your duties are to allow no one to enter without the permission of the Vice-President.
President: Brother (Sister) Guide, what are your duties in this lodge?
Guide: My duties are to see that all present at the opening of the lodge are in possession of the annual pass-word; to prepare and collect the ballot of this lodge; to prepare and escort the candidates through the ceremonies of initiation, to assist in the installation of officers, and to obey all orders of the presiding officer.
President: Brother (Sister) Treasurer, what are your duties in this lodge?
Treasurer: My duties are to receive all moneys from the Financial Secretary of this lodge; to pay all bills when so ordered by the lodge; and to perform all other duties of my office as required by the laws of the Society and the by-laws of this lodge.
President: Brother (Sister) Financial Secretary, what are your duties in this lodge?
Financial Secretary: My duties are to collect all dues and assessments from the members; to receive and to turn over to the Treasurer all moneys of the lodge; to keep accounts of this lodge; to notify members in arrears and announce these in each regular meeting; and to perform all other duties of my office as required by the laws of the Society and the by-laws of this lodge.
President: Brother (Sister) Secretary, what are your duties in this lodge?
Secretary: My duties are to write the minutes of all meetings of this lodge; to receive all communications and to present them at the following meeting; to conduct all lodge correspondence; and to perform all other duties of my office as required by the laws of the Society and the by-laws of this lodge.
President: Brother (Sister) Vice-President. what are your duties in this lodge?
Vice-President: My duties are to aid the President in conducting the meetings of this lodge; to assist in the initiation of new members; to preside in the absence of the President; and to perform all other duties of my office as required by the laws of the Society and the by-laws of this lodge.
President: My duties are to preside and to preserve order in all sessions of this lodge; to exercise care that all lawful requirements of our Society are complied with; and to perform all other duties of my office as required by the laws of the Society and the by-laws of this lodge.
I ask your earnest co-operation in the discharge of all of these duties, which I am under solemn obligation to perform. Three raps— all members arise.
What are the duties of each and every member of this lodge?
All Members: To meet in Equality, act in Harmony and depart in Fraternity.
President: I now declare Lodge … No. … of the Czechoslovak Society of America duly open for the transaction of such business as shall properly come before it.
Brothers and Sisters, join me in giving the sign of courtesy. All members place their right hand over their heart and bow slightly forward. One rap—all members are seated.
Brother (Sister) Sentry, with due permission of the Vice-President, you will now allow into our meeting all members who are in possession of the annual password and report to me all those who may be without it.
If there are any visiting members, the President will welcome them on behalf of the lodge, and the lodge may be declared at ease thus: The lodge will be at ease while we extend a welcome to our visiting brothers and sisters.
After a short recess the lodge is called to order, thus:
President, one rap: The lodge will now come to order. After all members are seated, the Order of Business prevails.
It is the duty of the Guide to have everything in readiness—the gavels, rituals, emblems, by-laws, etc., before the opening of the lodge.
Note: No one is to be admitted to the meeting during the opening or closing of the lodge, nor during the reading of the minutes of the previous meeting.
President: A report having been received from the Executive Committee that he (she or they) is (are) eligible for membership in the Czechoslovak Society of America, and the vote of this lodge being favorable, we shall now initiate (a) new member(s) into our lodge.
Everything we do or say should impress the candidate(s) in such a way that we may at once gain his (her) (or their) confidence and friendship. Let us accept him (her or them) as (a) brother(s) (or sister(s) and by our courteous and friendly conduct convince him (her or them) that this lodge welcomes and respects every new member.
Brother (Sister) Guide, present the candidate(s) for initiation.
Guide, stands when addressed by the President, then retires to the ante-room, where he greets the candidate (s) and prepares him (her or them) for initiation thus: My friend (s), I have been ordered by the President of our lodge to present you for initiation. Are you willing to assume an obligation to support the constitution and by-laws and be governed by the principles of our Society? Yes or no.
Guide: I am grateful for your good will to become loyal members of our Society and ask that you now follow me. When ready, the Guide will give three knocks upon the door of the lodge room.
Sentry: Who strikes upon the door of this lodge?
Guide: The Guide of this lodge with (a) friend(s), who desire(s) to be initiated into our lodge.
Sentry: Brother (Sister) Vice-President, the Guide of this lodge, with (a) friend(s) who desire(s) to be initiated into our lodge, applies for admission.
Vice-President: Admit them.
The Sentry admits the Guide, who, with the candidate(s) on his left, enters, and, walking slowly, makes a complete circuit of the room, finally halting before the President, who rises.
Guide, gives the sign of Courtesy: Brother (Sister) President, before you stand(s) (a) friend(s) who desire(s) to be initiated into our lodge and the Czechoslovak Society of America.
President: Thank you, Brother (Sister) Guide. The Guide will then step one pace back of the candidate(s). The President then addresses the candidate(s).
President: My friend (s), of your own free will you are about to become (a) member(s) of this great Brotherhood, united to achieve— by co-operation—security for our loved ones.
To attain this result, it is required of everyone of us to fulfill our obligations promptly in justice to ourselves and in justice to the Society.
By accepting your application(s) we evidenced our belief in your honor and integrity. It is our hope and our wish that you will prove to be (a) true and loyal member(s) of this Society and thus make our belief a reality.
I welcome you as (an) applicant(s), willing to pledge yourself (yourselves) to aid us in our work and in disseminating the principles of our Society—Equality, Harmony and Fraternity. Are you willing to pledge your cooperation?
The candidate(s), prompted by the Guide if necessary, will answer: “I am".
President: Brother (Sister) Guide (who steps forward) you will conduct the candidate(s) to the Vice-President, that he (she or they) may assume the obligation of our Society.
The Guide gives the sign of Courtesy, and conducts the candidate(s) to the station of the Vice-President, who arises.
Guide, gives the sign of Courtesy: Brother (Sister) Vice-President, I have been instructed to present this (these) candidate(s), that he (she or they) may assume the obligation of our Society and receive further instructions.
Vice-President: Thank you Brother (Sister) Guide. Guide will step one pace back of the candidate(s).
Vice-President: Place your right hand over your heart and repeat after me:
President gives three raps of the gavel and all present arise.
I solemnly promise — upon my word of honor — to support the Constitution — and to obey the By-laws — of the Czechoslovak Society of America — to abide — by all lawful decisions — and regulations — now in effect or hereinafter adopted — by the Executive Committee — the Grand Lodge — and my subordinate lodge — and to govern myself accordingly.
To co-operate — to the best of my ability toward the advancement of this Society — and lodge … No. … of which I am now — becoming a member. To never disclose — the transactions of this — or any other lodge — of this Society — to anyone — whom I do not know — to be a member — of this Society — unless authorized to do so.
I further promise — that I will promptly pay — all dues and premiums — levied by lawful authority — and never allow myself to be suspended — for non-payment of dues — if within my power to prevent it — because — I would deprive myself — and my beneficiaries — of all benefits — dispensed by this Society.
I promise — to do all in my power — to aid all worthy members — of this Society —in need or distress — and to exercise — the principles — of Equality — Harmony and Fraternity — toward all members — in the same way — I would ask for myself.
To the faithful fulfillment — of this, my obligation, — I pledge — my sacred word of honor — and call upon as witnesses — all members — assembled here tonight.
President gives one rap of gavel and all are seated.
Vice-President, continues: I will now give you instructions pertaining to the inner affairs of the lodge.
No one may be admitted during the opening—nor may anyone leave during the closing—of the lodge.
When the lodge is open and you desire admittance, you will give three light knocks upon the door. These are symbolic of the motto of our Society: Equality, Harmony and Fraternity.
The Sentry will obtain your name and receive from you the annual pass-word. He will then report to the Vice-President, who may order you admitted.
You will then proceed to the altar—in the center of the lodge hall—face the presiding officer—and give this Sign of Courtesy, thus: illustrates—place your right hand over your heart and bow your head slightly. The presiding officer will answer by a wave of the gavel. Then drop your hand to your side and proceed to your seat.
If you wish to leave while the lodge is open, you will proceed before the altar and give the same sign. If the presiding officer will recognize it with a wave of the gavel, you may leave, otherwise you will return to your seat.
This sign indicates your remembrance of the obligation and must be given by all upon the opening and closing of the lodge and by all who enter or leave while the lodge is open, except those who are executing an order of the presiding officer.
The voting sign—used in both the affirmative and negative vote—is given thus: illustrates, raising the right arm halfway, palm outward, the fingers and thumb together.
The gavel is the emblem of authority of the President. It is used to call the lodge to order—to call the members to their feet and to seat them. One rap (illustrates) calls the lodge to order, two raps call the officers to arise, three raps call all members to arise, four raps call members to form a brotherly circle, and one rap seats them.
Brother (Sister) Guide, conduct the candidate(s) to the President for further instructions. The Guide gives the sign of Courtesy, and conducts the candidate(s) to the President, who rises.
Guide, gives the sign of Courtesy: Brother (Sister) President, by order of the Vice-President, 1 present this (these) candidate(s) for further instructions.
President: Thank you, Brother (Sister) Guide. Guide steps back one pace. You have been instructed that admittance to the lodge can be gained only through knowledge of the annual pass-word. Before you may receive this pass-word, you must assume an obligation not to improperly reveal it. Kindly raise your right hand and repeat after me: gives three raps. “I do sincerely promise — that I will not reveal — the annual pass-word — or give any information — concerning it — to anyone —except the proper officers — of the lodge — namely — the Sentry at the door — the Guide at the opening of the lodge — or when officially — discharging my duties — as President or acting President — of the lodge —Grand Lodge — or Executive Committee." one rap.
The pass-word for the current year is: The President steps down to the new member(s) and whispers the pass-word to each. He (she) then returns to his (or her) station and continues: To participate in the proceedings of this lodge, you must attend meetings, take part in the discussions and elections, willingly accept offices and membership on various committees. Your co-operation with the officers and members of this lodge will prove that your promise to be (a) true and loyal member(s) was honestly given by you upon your word of honor.
With sincere congratulations we welcome you into our brotherly and sisterly circle, and we firmly believe that you will become (a) true and loyal member(s) of this lodge.
By the power vested in me as the (acting) President of this lodge (or the Grand Lodge of the State of …), I now proclaim you to be (a) full fledged member(s) of the Czechoslovak Society of America and of Lodge No.. . . ., and invest you with this emblem. While doing so he continues: May we always be proud of you as our member, and may you always be proud to wear the emblem of our Society, which now bids you welcome. Shakes hands with the new member(s).
President: Brother (Sister) Guide, face the new brother(s) (and) sister(s) to the lodge. Done. Three raps.
Sisters and Brothers, I take great pleasure in presenting to you our new brother (s) and sister(s). Announces the name of each.
The lodge will be at ease. one rap.
All members present will extend their welcome to the new member(s). Starting at the right of the President, they march around the lodge room, shake hands with the new member (s), introducing themselves, and expressing their delight at his (her or their) joining. When done the lodge is again called to order.
President, gives one rap: The lodge will now come to order. Brother (Sister) Guide, conduct our new brother(s) (and) sister(s) to the Financial Secretary of this lodge.
The Guide conducts the new member (s) to the Financial Secretary for payment of their (his or her) premium, to receive their (his or her) dues book, and the membership certificate and then to their (his or her) seat(s). The Guide then marches in front of the altar, gives the sign of Courtesy and returns to his station.
President: We shall now proceed with the meeting. The next order of business is the Report of the Relief Committee.
The meeting then continues. Under the heading of “For the Good of the Order" the President may request the newly initiated members to say a few words. Visiting members and guests are also given this opportunity. The Order of Business is then again followed and the lodge closed in due form.
When there is no further business before the lodge, or when a motion to adjourn has been carried.
President: There being no further business before the lodge, we shall proceed to close.
Before closing, I wish to express my thanks for your co-operation and attention during the proceedings of this lodge. As we are about to enter the outer world again, let us remember to so regulate our conduct that it will bring honor to ourselves, to our loved ones, and to our Society. I wish you a safe and happy return to your homes, and impress upon you the importance of the attendance of every member at the meetings of this lodge, at which harmony and co-operation should prevail at all times. Let us hope that our next meeting will be well attended and that all deliberations will be to the benefit and advancement of our lodge. One rap.
Brother (Sister) Guide, collect the rituals, by-laws and emblems and return these to their proper place. The Guide will collect all rituals, by-laws and official emblems, place them on the altar and remain standing in front of the altar.
President, three raps: Brothers and sisters, join me in giving the sign of Courtesy. Done.
I now declare the meeting of Lodge … No. … of the Czechoslovak Society of America duly closed. One rap.
The Guide will then take care that all rituals, by-laws, emblems and the gavel—and any and all other paraphernalia—are safely put away.