EVENTS: Community Blue Christmas ceremony shines a light on winter solstice
by Monica Charette
The ShineOnCass Foundation will host its Second Annual Blue Christmas Ceremony for grieving families and friends, and those who support them, Wednesday, December 21, at 6 p.m., on the Winter Solstice – the longest and darkest night of the year. Light the Night will feature music, speakers, along with a reading of submitted names of loved ones’ lost and the lighting of memorial blue candles.
Blue Christmas ceremonies are held around the world in acknowledgement that the holiday season can be difficult for many who are grieving.
“This time of year can be so challenging when celebrations of peace and joy contrast sharply with the sadness and loneliness that come with loss,” said Monica Charette, founder and executive director of the ShineOnCass Foundation. “Our hope is to bring people together, both those who are grieving, and people who support them, to offer a comforting space where everyone feels less alone.”
In addition to the blue light ceremony, the evening will also feature music by local musician Will Pherson and the return of award-winning country recording artist Joan Kennedy, who will perform “Candle in the Window.”
Charette said the idea to host a community Blue Christmas Ceremony came from a gathering organized by her friends after the passing of her 17-year-old daughter Cassidy Charette, eight years ago. Cass, for whom the ShineOnCass Foundation was created to honor, was a Messalonskee High School student and longtime community volunteer, who died in a tragic hayride accident on October 11, 2014.
“It was comforting when people came together to support our family, acknowledge our grief, and stand beside us during a very dark and lonely time,” Charette said. “We want to continue to share that experience with others in our community.”
Anyone in the community can participate by sharing their loved ones’ names being remembered, and receiving a blue candle to light at the ceremony. People are also welcome to attend in silent remembrance and offer support to others. To complete the online form, visit Light the Night: Blue Christmas on the Foundation’s website www.shineoncass.org. Deadline to submit is Monday, December 19. In case of inclement weather, Blue Christmas will be held one day later, on December 22. For more information, email email@example.com or call 207-314-6996.
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