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Worldwide Candle Lighting will pay tribute on Sunday to children who have died

Published December 09. 2010 05:00PM

People around the world will join together on Sunday, Dec. 12 to honor the memory of a beloved child who passed away, during the 14th Annual Worldwide Candlelight Observance. Candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, beginning in New Zealand, and creating a virtual wave of light, as hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor the memory of children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries.

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 event takes place each year on the second Sunday of December, this observance is recognized by many bereavement support groups.

This candlelighting ceremony unites families and friends in loving memory of all children who have died at any age from any cause, transcending all boundaries of our global grieving communities.

The Compassionate Friends and allied organizations were joined in 2009 by local bereavement groups, churches, funeral homes, hospitals, hospices, children's gardens, schools, cemeteries, and community centers. Services have ranged in size from just a few people to nearly a thousand.

People are also invited to post a message in the Remembrance Book which will be available during the event at The Compassionate Friend's national website. Last year in that short one day span, thousands of messages were received and posted from every U.S. state and Washington D.C., every territory, as well as dozens of other countries, some in foreign languages. Last year's Remembrance Book may be viewed at:

In Hazleton, the Luzerne County of NE PA, Chapter 93 of Bereaved Parents of the USA, will hold its Annual Worldwide Candlelight Observance on Dec. 12 at Faith United Church of Christ, 21 Faith Drive, Hazleton.

This invitation is extended to parents, grandparents, siblings, other family members and friends who wish to join in honoring the memory of a beloved child or friend at this special time of the year.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The program and candle lighting will be at 7 p.m.

A candle can be picked up at the table to the left as you enter the church. Donation will be appreciated to help defray the costs.

A picture of your child can be displayed as you enter the church, if you choose to provide one. The photo should be no bigger than 5-inches by 7-inches. There will also be special candles for siblings to light.

The deadline to submit a photo is Dec. 9. Please provide the child's first and last name, first and last name of the parents, number of people attending, number of bereaved siblings attending and whether you would like a photo to be displayed.

Send donation and photo to: Linda DeAndrea, Chapter Leader, 191 North Lee Ct., Hazleton, PA 18201; or e-mail:

An ornament (a gift from Bereaved Parents Chapter 93) will be available to take home, provided by Michelle Faleshock of Michelle's Miniatures.

There will be refreshments following the service.

In Stroudsburg, there will be a candle lighting at 7 p.m. at The Stroud Mall.

Those who cannot travel to either of these events are welcome to host their own public event. Visit The Compassionate Friend's website for suggestions to help plan a service in conjunction with the Worldwide Candle Lighting. All allied bereavement organizations, churches, funeral homes, hospices and formal and informal bereavement groups are invited to join in the remembrance.

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