Who are the Shriners?
Shriners of North America is an international fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth. There are approximately 375,000 members from 191 temples (chapters) in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Panama.
Shriners are distinguished by an enjoyment of life and a commitment to philanthropy. They enjoy parades, trips, dances, dinners, sporting events and other social occasions. They support what has been called the "World's Greatest Philanthropy," Shriners Hospitals for Children, a network of 22 pediatric specialty hospitals, operated and maintained by the Shriners. All children, up to 18 years old, may be eligible for treatment at Shriners Hospitals if they, in the opinion of the hospital's chief of staff, could benefit from the specialized care available at Shriners Hospitals. Eligibility is not based on financial need or relationship to a Shriner.
What is Masonry and what is the connection to the Shrine?
In order to become a Shriner, a man must first be a Mason. The fraternity of Freemasonry is the oldest, largest and most widely known fraternity in the world. It dates back hundreds of years to the time when stonemasons and other craftsmen gathered in shelter houses or lodges. Over the years, formal Masonic lodges emerged, with members bound together not by trade, but by their own desire to be fraternal brothers.
The basic unit of Masonry is the Blue Lodge, where members earn the first three Masonic Degrees known as the Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason. There is no higher degree than that of Master Mason (the Third Degree).
After he becomes a Master Mason, he can belong to many other organizations which have their roots in Masonry and which have Blue Lodge Masonry as a prerequisite. Only when a man has achieved the status of Master Mason can he petition to become a Noble of the Ararat Shrine.
Other affiliated Masonic organizations include the Ancient and Accepted Rite of Freemasonry include the Kansas City Scottish Rite, Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., Missouri Grand York Rite, and the Grand Lodge of Missouri.
What is the relationship between Shriners and Shriners Hospitals?
Shriners of North America support Shriners Hospitals for Children, a one-of-a-kind international health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs. Since 1922, Shriners Hospitals for Children have significantly improved the lives of more than 865,000 children.
In a unique interdependent relationship, the Shriners and Shriners' Hospitals are separate but inseparable.
The Shriners of North America supports Shriners' Hospitals in many ways: The Shriner Temples, their units and clubs often help arrange and pay for transportation for children and parents to the hospitals, and thousands of Shriners spend many hours of their own time driving families to the hospitals and entertaining the patients.
In addition, Shriners help support the hospitals financially, with each Shriner paying an annual hospital assessment. Temples and clubs also hold many fundraisers, some of which benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children.
What are the benefits of becoming a Shriner?
- Membership in a well-known fraternal organization recognized for its social and philanthropic activities.
- Opportunity to develop lasting friendships with others from all walks of life
- A variety of social activities available for the entire family and many special-interest groups to meet individual interests
- The privilege of being part of the "Worlds Greatest Philanthropy," offering Shriners many opportunities to find personal fulfillment and satisfaction through supporting Shriners Hospitals for Children.