PHOTO: Cassdy Charette is the inpsiration for the Dec. 21 Light the Night Blue Christmas ceremony at Oakland’s Waterfront Park Dec. 21. (ShineonCass.org photo)
OAKLAND — The ShineOnCass Foundation will host Light the Night, a community Blue Christmas ceremony for grieving families and friends, and those who support them, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21, at gazebo at Waterfront Park.
The ceremony will be held on the winter solstice — the longest and darkest night of the year. Light the Night will feature music and speakers, as well as 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.
“So many people are acquainted with the paradox of the holiday season — a time when celebrations of peace and joy contrast sharply with the sadness and loneliness that come with loss,” said Monica Charette, executive director of the ShineOnCass Foundation. “Our hope is to provide a comforting space where people feel supported, loved, and less alone in their grief.”
Local musicians will perform, and country recording artist Joan Kennedy 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 her 17-year-old daughter Cassidy Charette died in a hayride accident seven years ago. Cass, for whom the nonprofit ShineOnCass Foundation was created to honor, was a Messalonskee High School student and longtime community volunteer.
“It was incredibly meaningful how people came together to support our family at this service, acknowledge our grief, and stand beside us during a very dark and lonely time,” Charette said. “We want to share that experience with others in our community, give them hope, and help people feel less alone.”
The ceremony is open to the community and those who would like can share their loved one’s name and receive 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 shineoncass.org. Forms are also available at the Oakland Town Office. In case of inclement weather, Light the Night will be held Wednesday, Dec. 22.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 207-314-6996.