New Loyal Orange Association Lodge launches in Prince Albert

Submitted Photo The Loyal Orange Association has launched a new fraternal Lodge in Prince Albert.

Last weekend members of the Loyal Orange Association met in Saskatoon to open a new lodge. Diefenbaker Memorial Loyal Orange Lodge #1748 was opened for the first time with 20 members in attendance. This lodge will meet in Prince Albert.

John Wojcik, the Worshipful Master of the new lodge explained that planning began over the last year because there were several individuals interested.

“There’s a couple of members that live in the surrounding communities, but didn’t have a large locally. They have their memberships in other provinces. So working together we kind of came together,” he said.

Wojcik explained that there are members from the Lloydminster area and a Cree member from La Ronge recently joined. This member is thought to be the first Indigenous member in recent memory. Along with Wojcik there is another member from Prince Albert.

All of these members came together to open the lodge for Prince Albert. They hope the Prince Albert Lodge will be a feeder point to reinvigorate the Orange Lodge in the area.

“And it’s our hope that these members from the surrounding communities that come in to meet and pay, they will bring some more membership in and at an appropriate time when they have enough members from their area to open their own lodge, we’ll start to see a resurgence again in the prairies,” he said.

As the members from areas attract membership they can break away and form their own Lodge. At one time Orange Lodges could be found all over the west from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The Lodge is named in honour of Diefenbaker because of his connection to the organization.

“There used to be a lodge in Prince Albert. It was called, I think it was called Western Star Lodge. But that was long before Diefenbaker’s time but John Diefenbaker was an Orangemen, when he was originally in Ontario,” he said.

“With the local connection to Prince Albert, we thought it fitting to kind of honour his memory by naming the lodge after him and just doing justice to a great man and great prime minister,” Wojcik said.

The Loyal Orange Association in Canada is a Christian, Patriotic, Benevolent and Protestant Society and its purpose is to Encourage its members to actively participate in a Protestant Church of their choice. Participate in benevolent activities which will enrich our communities and our country. Provide social activities which will enrich the lives of its members. Actively support the Canadian system of government and anticipate legislation and its impact on the civil and religious liberties of all Canadians.

During the opening sessions, several new members were initiated, and others advanced in their degrees. As in any education process, the conferring of Degrees marks the individual’s progress. In the Loyal Orange Association, the conferring of Degrees is a ceremony, usually depicting a Biblical story, and is intended to educate and encourage members to strive for a high level of Christian, moral and ethical conduct in their personal lives.

“The Orange Order has been around since the late 1700s, it’s predominant in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England. So in Canada, a lot of it happened with the immigration people coming over from the old country.”

“I think you could say it’s akin to what the Knights of Columbus is for the Catholic Church, the Orange Lodges for the Protestant sect of Christianity.”

“It’s a fraternal organization. There’s a men’s and women’s lodges. We raise money for charities in the West in particular, at one time, there used to be an Orange Orphanage in Indian Head, and it was run it was run by a charitable foundation of the Orange Order. So we’ve had orphanages.

They are Protestants who are loyal to the Crown and to the Nations who raise money for different charities.

Wojcik explained that one phrase associated with the Order is ‘equal rights for all.’

“So the entire founding of the Orange Order is based on William III replacing a more tyrannical, autocratic king back in 1690. And the whole basis of constitutions and parliaments came about from William III. So the more democratic institutions that we have today are based in the history that we celebrate,” Wojcik said.

The only requirement for joining the Loyal Orange Association is that one must be of the Protestant faith. Each member in good standing, regardless of the length of time of membership, has an equal voice in the governing of a Primary Lodge.

Wojcik explained that because of the COVID-19 pandemic people have realized that it’s good to see people face to face.

“People were really lacking that connection, that physical, in-person connection. And I think, now that we’re out of that COVID phase there’s a better appreciation for, just meeting people downtown or going to Tim Hortons and having that face-to-face contact,” he said.

Because of the pandemic organizations that provide fellowship with like-minded individuals to be social with can fill a gap.

“Those are all aspects that, you know, we lost gradually as technology came in and then realized when we became isolated that we still have the desire to do those things to be, you know, a social in-person type of a society. So I think we’ll see a resurgence in groups like the Orange Lodge as that kind of connection is desired now.” he said.

Diefenbaker Memorial Loyal Orange Lodge #1748 can be found on Facebook.

“We do have a Facebook page for the lodge. I don’t have a website per se, but there is a way to follow and if anybody wants to contact us, they can contact us through the Facebook page for more information,” he explained.

The Loyal Orange Association of Canada’s website can be found in the link below.