The Junior Deacon
From About Freemasons
The Junior Deacon has two important duties: overseeing the door of the lodge and acting as messenger of The Senior Warden. Because of these duties, the Junior Deacon sits to the right of The Senior Deacon, who sits to the right of The Worshipful Master. Therefore, the Junior Deacon is in close proximity to the Master of the lodge. The Junior Deacon acts like the attendant or manager of a lodge.
The Junior Deacon is in charge of the Tyler, who guards the door, and communicates with the Tyler through knocks on a door. It is the duty of the Junior Deacon to ensure that only specific visitors enter. In some lodges, there is an Inner Guard as well as a Junior Deacon. In such lodges, the Inner Guard oversees visitors and the Tyler while the Junior Deacon acts only as messenger to The Senior Deacon.
The jewel of office for the Junior Deacon is a square and compass with a moon in the center. The moon symbolizes that the Junior Deacon is in the west, not the east (closer to the Master). The square and compass are traditional symbols of Freemasonry. The Junior Deacon has a staff with him which is topped with this jewel of office. The staff symbolizes the wand carried by the Roman god Mercury, who was also a messenger. The Junior Deacon also typically wears the jewel of office around his neck.
The Junior Deacon has many duties:
1) Overseeing the door. In lodges where there is no Inner Guard, the Junior Deacon must oversee the door and the Tyler, who is the guard of the door outside the lodge. In fact, the Junior Deacon acts somewhat like the doorman. He needs to ensure that the Tyler is doing his job correctly. It is the Junior Deacon, not the Tyler, who permits visitors and candidates to enter the lodge and it is his duty to ensure that everyone who enters the lodge should be there. The Junior Deacon and the Tyler sit on opposite sides of a closed door and communicate via knocks on the door.
2) Assist The Senior Deacon, especially in the conferring of degrees.
3) Act as messenger for The Senior Warden, often by carrying messages between The Senior Warden and The Junior Warden. This requires the Junior Deacon to frequently cross the lodge room between the west (where The Senior Warden sits) and the South (where The Junior Warden sits).
4) Develop the talents and rhetoric required of Masons. Since a Junior Deacon may become a more senior officer in a few years, he is expected to learn and do develop himself in preparation for more duties.
In many lodges, these duties vary. In some lodges, The Senior Warden appoints The Senior Deacon, with permission from The Worshipful Master. In some lodges, a Junior Deacon eventually becomes a Senior Deacon after a year or so, although this is not always the case. He may be appointed to another office entirely.