In Massachusetts a District Deputy makes two scheduled visits to each Lodge. One is an Official Visitation and the other is a Fraternal Visitation. Other than those two visitations the District Deputy cannot come to your Lodge unless he is invited. If he were to just show up he could legally be denied admission. Not too many Masters remember this. They forget to ask their District Deputy to all their social and special events. The District Deputy cannot always attend but he appreciates being asked.
At the Official visitation the District Deputy inspects the Lodge, the books (actually done prior -the visitation being the Official recording that it has been done), and the work of the Lodge. The Fraternal visitation is social in nature bringing news and reports.
At an Official visitation then the Lodge is required to perform some small part of the ritual work so that the District Deputy might judge their capability in this area. On my last Official visitation as Master I asked the District Deputy if I could do something different. I asked him if I could do a funeral service for all the Brethren of the Lodge that had died in my two years as Master. He said sure.
So the first thing I did was to put together this memorial. It was not going to be the Lodge memorial done in the ritual book. I designed my own borrowing some ideas from what I had seen or heard others do. After designing the service I put the players in place. I hired a Masonic organist who could play anything. Then I hired a Masonic soloist who could sing anything. We decided on the songs to be sung and the soloist and the organist got together on that. I asked the Chaplain to compose a special prayer.
The night of the visitation after the Official Inspection was completed and it was time for a recitation of the work, I placed the Deacons and Stewards on the West side of the altar facing East and so positioned their wands so as to form the likeness of the square and compasses (SEE PHOTO BELOW). Then I announced that 23 Brothers had died from my Lodge in my two years as Master. I read each of the 23 names. Then I placed 23 red roses on the altar as the soloist sang "I'll Walk With God". Then I returned to the East where I recited "The Hour Glass" as the soloist sang softly in the background "Nearer My God, To Thee." The Chaplain concluded the ceremony with prayer. I asked the Brethren present to take home a rose in memory of a Brother.
We had remembered our fallen Brethren and paid them due respect. Such is the Brotherly Love that emanates from our Order.