The York Rite is one of several groups of the fraternity known as Freemasonry. A Rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred by Masonic organizations, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority.
The York Rite of Pennsylvania is a collection of separate Masonic Bodies that work together by sharing resources and ideas. The three primary bodies in the York Rite are the Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, the Council of Royal & Select Master Masons, and the Commandery of Knights Templar. Since the York Rite is actually a grouping of separate organizations joined in together in common purpose, each body operates with relative autonomy. Though they are referred to as one “Rite” it is common for individuals to be member of some bodies and not others.
The York Rite journey starts with the Chapter of Royal Arch Masons. You must be a member of this group before you can join a Council or a Commandery. In most cases, a Chapter will meet in the same place as a Council, a Commandery, or both. This provides an easy route along the path.
The degrees along the journey are like milestones, each offering a rich tapestry of symbols and stories that expand upon the ideas taught in your home Lodge. Once the degrees are conferred you’ll be a part of a group of familiar faces that meets, in many cases, right where your Lodge does, making it easy and convenient to attend meetings.
The York Rite also recognizes the importance of time management by offering many of the same opportunities as your Lodge, but with less burden placed on your time and resources. It also places great importance on being a man and having a time and place to meet with your fellows and enjoy their company. Sometimes it’s nice to bring your family along as well, so, many local groups hold family and ladies nights too. The bodies of the York Rite offer such a wide array of possibilities that it truly is the next step on your Masonic Journey!