A Masonic Funeral is a right of every Master Mason and the Grand Lodge of NY provides a format for that solemn occasion. It is the prerogative of the Worshipful Master to perform the service, however, he may appoint another to take his place. This is one of the prerogatives that he should not relinquish lightly.
In preparing for the service all the white aprons and gloves should be clean and in pristine condition. Do not use any worn or torn aprons. All brothers attending should not wear any name or identification badges and only the white aprons and gloves provided by the Lodge should be worn. Do not use any officer aprons or aprons with color borders or symbols. Only the booklet provided by Lodge Services should be used and the service must be read and not delivered from memory. In preparation, the presenter should read over the service a number of times so that the delivery is consistent and reverent.
Prior to the ceremony, care should be taken that all the brothers in attendance sign the service booklet. At the appointed time and based on the configuration of the room, a procession should form in two columns. The presenter and the chaplain should lead the procession, followed by the apron & sprig of acacia bearers, and the balance of the brothers.
At no time during the ceremony should the procession block the view of the casket or urn. If the room is small and the family is seated to one side, the procession should proceed along the opposite wall and terminate facing the family. If the room is large and the family is seated in the center, the entry should be from the 2 outside aisles.
During the service, the only times that the brethren should come to the sign of fidelity is during prayer. There is no need for this sign during the scripture readings. At the Amen ending a prayer, the brethren make the usual response. Other than that, only the presenter and the chaplain speak during the ceremony.
At the conclusion or the ceremony, the presenter and the chaplain face the casket or urn, come the sign of fidelity and with a slight bow break the sign and then offer their condolences to the family by presenting the Masonic Service Booklet. The balance of the brethren approach the casket / urn two-by-two, come to the sign of fidelity, end with a slight bow and then leave the room. If any of the participants know the family or would like to offer their condolences they can do so after they remove their aprons.
This procedure is followed for a number of reasons. If the group of participants is large, it is much too tedious for the family to greet all the brethren. Secondly, if the participants do not know the family members it does not make any of them uncomfortable. In essence, the presenter and the chaplain represent all the participants.
Keep in mind that this is a solemn occasion and there should be no chatter or noise in the ante room before or after the service. Whether you knew the deceased brother or not, you should try to attend any Masonic services in your area. This gives great consolation to the family and one day, you too will lay down the working tools and travel to the celestial lodge above.