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Compassionate Friends unite in worldwide candle lighting event

By Staff | Dec 6, 2011

MUNCY – This Sunday communities across the globe will be joining in The Compassionate Friends 15th Worldwide Candle Lighting on December 11, 2011.

The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. “It is an international organization whose mission is to support families after a child dies, and to show the love shared by all parents toward the children who have gone before them,” said JoAnn Welch from Muncy who lost her daughter on December 16, 1999 at the age of ten.

As candles are lit at 6 p.m. local time, creating a virtual wave of light, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor the memory of children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries.

Every year this event is held the second Sunday in December at 6 p.m. to show the love shared by all parents toward the children who have gone before them. “Anyone can light a candle in their own home if there is not an event close by,” added Welch. This year the theme is “That Their Light May Always Shine.”

“I know this raw and terrible grief in which one never gets over,” Welch said. Her daughter died of a sudden undiagnosed but treatable illness. “This is the 12th Christmas I have lived without her and the sadness lasts inside forever,” Welch stated who would also like to raise awareness to help others who are grieving for their children.

Now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the Worldwide Candle Lighting, a gift to the bereavement community from The Compassionate Friends, creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten.

The Worldwide Candle Lighting started in the United States in 1997 as a small Internet observance but has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of the remembrance.

Eventually Welch hopes to hold a local event in Muncy. If anyone is interested in supporting her, contact her at 546-3803. In the meantime, the closest scheduled event will be in Lewisburg at the Evangelical Community Hospital, One Hospital Dr, Lewisburg, PA. The program will be held in the main lobby of the hospital on Sunday featuring messages, poetry, special music, and reading of names. Refreshments will be served after the candle lighting.