Álvaro Vega I Córdoba, (EFE) in the Spanish, by having a greater number of members.
“There is a part of that in the role of formation of the Freemason that is considered to be a very important value, because all the work we do to perfect ourselves as people has to revert to society,” Javier Escalada points out in a conversation with EFE, deputy grand master of the Grand Lodge of Spain, the second highest position of Spanish Freemasonry.
Escalada, who has attended the VIII Conference on the Presence of Freemasonry in Córdoba, stresses that “really a value such as solidarity makes sense when it is related to others in a close relationship of mutual aid.”
Solidarity was precisely the focus of the meeting, held over the weekend, in an attempt to normalize Freemasonry’s relations with society.
Small solidarity actions
The leader of the initiation order assured that “Freemasonry itself carries out solidarity actions, but due to the size we have in Spain, they are not really significant, they are smaller actions that are carried out locally in different cities.”
In Andalusia, “English-speaking lodges have more members and can give more money to charity”, a term that in Freemasonry is used as a synonym for solidarity, Shaun Parson, grand master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Andalusia.
There are cases, he points out, in which some lodges “want to help care for cancer or Alzheimer’s, as a fairly important contribution to the butterfly skin disease that we did a few years ago, in which we raised about 70,000 euros.”
But each lodge decides which activity it helps, Escalada and Parson agree. For example, in the one in Madrid to which the former belongs, “we usually collaborate with a foundation that works with the homeless.” They donate money “and sometimes a special solidarity sack is also made when they have special soup kitchens on certain dates, which, in that case, some of the Masons go to serve.”
In Malaga, where Parson is, on the other hand, “we have an association that tries to help the poor who are on the street, because what each lodge does is make a decision about what the charity is for each year.”
The bag with a closed hand
And how is the money raised? “Freemasonry itself is a training method, what is peculiar is how it develops, which is always through many symbols, allegory, that is the most peculiar thing”, recalls the deputy grand master of the Grand Lodge of Spain.
Hence, he points out that “one of the characteristics of our meetings, which we call held, is that at the end what we call a sack of solidarity is passed, where all the people are invited to throw in some money, they throw it out with the closed hand, you don’t know how much money they put in, and it’s a solidarity fund that goes to the lodge”.
That is the fund that is generated and allocated to a goal. The Cordoba lodge that organizes the conference, the Symbolic Maimónides 173, allocated its 2022 fund to basic necessities that it delivered to the Córdoba Food Bank last December.
On the situation of Freemasonry in Spain, Javier Escalada acknowledges that “it is difficult to grow in this country”, despite the fact that in Spain Freemasonry has never been a very important number”.
Big goals is small work
He does not see it as a problem because “we are not concerned about growing a lot in number, we are more concerned about quality and, of course, with the return to democracy there has already been a revival of Freemasonry quite important”.
In his opinion, “we are in a phase of stability, but we are also adapting a bit to the environment and the events of the last three years affect every organization, the pandemic and the socioeconomic crisis.”
In any case, he emphasizes, “we are adapting, but I think we are already in a normalized activity”, where “we work for the future”, where “the big objectives are the small work”.
In this line, the conferences have been proposed, “to normalize a relationship with the city of Córdoba and that they see that we are people who work on values as important and as positive as solidarity and mutual aid and that they see us as people more social, neither more nor less”. EFE