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A.J.E.F. Is an acronym which stands for Association of Youth Hope of the Fraternity (Asociacion de Jovenes Esperanza de la Fraternidad). It is an appendant body to Freemasonry for youth aged 14–21 in México, United States and Latin America.
Although initially the local organizations were known as AJEF Lodges, the title has changed to Chapters in order to reinforce the fact that it is not Masonry, but an appendant body. Every chapter is sponsored by a Masonic Lodge, in both economic and moral support.
It is equivalent in its focus and function to the Order of DeMolay.
Although it is open to both sexes, mixed sessions are forbidden except on special occasions in which there must be a Master Mason present.
There are a number of regional organizations of Chapters that have yearly meetings in order to appoint small changes in customs and ritual, thus varying pointual aspects. Some of these are:
- The Mexico Valley Organization
- The Mexican United Grand Lodge of Veracruz.
- The Honorable Central Council of Tamaulipas
- The Honorable Central Council of Jalisco
The members of a Chapter or Lodge are:
- Guide (Guía)
- First adviser (Asesor Primero)
- Second adviser (Asesor Segundo)
- Scribe (Secretario)
- Orator (Orador)
- Guardian (Guardián)
- Master of Choir (Mestro de Coro)
- Leader of Ceremonies (Director de Ceremonias)
- Donations Collector (Colector de Obolos)
- Steward (Experto)
- Flag Bearer (Portabandera)
- Standard Bearer (Portaestandarte)
- Instructor(a master mason) (Un Maestro Mason es el Instructor)
- Town: the name given to the general participants who do not have a particular position
(Pueblo: el nombre que reciben los participantes cuando no tienen una posición en particular)
Reaching 5,000 members by 1938, its rapid growth began to foster chapters overseas. In 1939 the first Mexican A.J.E.F. Lodge 'Benito Juárez' was established at Veracruz. The second one was established at Mexico City and the name was "Fernando Suárez Núñez".
Mystique and Rituals
The original ritual was created by the Cuban founder Fernando Suárez Núñez. The Federation of Regular Grand Lodges of the United States of Mexico (Confederación de Grandes Logias Regulares de la República Mexicana)assigned Grand Lodge Valle de México to adapt the ritual for the Mexican youth; in 1991 the Mexican United Grand Lodge of Veracruz created the "Vademecum del AJEF", a compilation of different ceremonials and the Theory of AJEF -symbols and philosophic principles-, that is the basis for the subsequent documents elaborated by other Grand Lodges, as the "Prontuario del AJEF", created in 1994 by the Grand Lodge Valle de México.
The rituals that constitute the exercise of 'Ajefismo' are aimed at developing moral values and social skills among the initiates.
The Letters A.J.E.F. have in themselves a deeper meaning, as these are the letters of the 'fundamental words' Love, Justice, Hope and Fraternity (Amor, Justicia, Esperanza y Fraternidad).
The institution's motto, always at the bottom of essays and official papers, is "For the nation and mankind" (Por la patria y la humanidad).
The initiation process varies according to the region even though there is an official written liturgy with such cases noted, as are funerals and weddings; these initiations may vary from being verbatim to the liturgy to identical to those performed in adult Freemasonry.
In that same vein it is not uncommon for AJEF essays to be about esoteric themes as well as science, morals or history, and its not uncommon to find young participants to be well versed in the occult themes of Masonry.
- Official Site for Jose Azueta No. 18 Veracruz Mexico based A.J.E.F. chapter (Spanish)
- Official Site for Hijos de Nuevos Horizontes, Hialeah, Florida based A.J.E.F. chapter (Spanish)
- Sitio Oficial de Logias AJEF Jurisdiccionadas a la Muy Respetable Gran Logia Valle de México (Spanish)
- Sitio Oficial de la Logia A.J.E.F. Caballeros del Temple No 53 Auspiciada y Jurisdiccionada a la Muy Respetable Gran Logia Valle de México (Spanish)
- http://WWW.caballeros-templarios.es.tl (Spanish)
- Official Site for Jose Martí No.4, Mexico City based A.J.E.F. chapter (Archived 2009-10-24)
- Official Site for Benito Juárez No. 4, Guadalajara based A.J.E.F. chapter (Spanish)
- Official Site for Mexican A.J.E.F. community (Spanish)
- http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.J.E.F. (Spanish)
- Taller Ajef Francisco Lopez Gutierrez #10, Tijuana (Spanish)