What is a Past Master?
Simply, he is a member of the Lodge who was elected to serve as its Master.
In Freemasonry, every Masonic Lodge elects or appoints Lodge Officers to execute the necessary functions of the lodge’s life and work. The precise list of such offices may vary between the jurisdictions of different Grand Lodges, although certain factors are common to all, and others are usual in most.
The senior officer of a Masonic Lodge is the Master, normally addressed and referred to as the Worshipful Master. The Worshipful Master sits in the East of the lodge room, chairs all of the business of his lodge, and is vested with considerable powers without further reference to the members. He also presides over ritual and ceremonies.
The office of Worshipful Master is the highest honor to which a lodge may appoint any of its members and it is filled annually by election.
The honorific term “Worshipful” does not suggest that the Master is worshiped, but is used in its original meaning, “worthy of respect.” Mayors and magistrates in parts of England and the Commonwealth are also traditionally called “Worshipful” or “Your Worship.”
At the conclusion of his limited term of office, a Worshipful Master is termed a Past Master. The duties and privileges of Past Masters vary from lodge to lodge and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In California, a Past Master retains the honorific “Worshipful,” as in “Worshipful Brother Smith.”
These are the men – the Past Masters – who have served as the Master of Los Angeles Harbor Lodge.