Console's Clonard ceremony shines light into the light of those who have lost a loved one

By AMY LEWIS

Published 08/12/2015 | 00:00

Fr Denis Lennon, Denis O'Connor, Joan Etchingham, Sally Griffith and Mary O'Dwyer.
Fr Denis Lennon, Denis O'Connor, Joan Etchingham, Sally Griffith and Mary O'Dwyer.

Over 150 people gathered in Clonard Church recently to shine a light in memory of those lost to suicide.

The Console Ceremony of Light invited families and friends to join together in solidarity to remember the lives of their loved ones. Now in its sixth year, the event offers a comforting experience for those who are grieving.

'It was an evening of song, music, poetry and reflection,' explained Denis O'Connor, Console's Suicide Bereavement Liaison Officer for the Southeast Region. 'It is a moving experience for people as it gives them the time to reflect. All of the people who come have lost someone to suicide. For them to know that others are experiencing the same grief gives them a feeling of solidarity.'

The special ceremony aims to give a ray of hope to those who are currently grieving the loss of a loved one. To symbolise this, each guest was offered a snowdrop bulb.

'The snowdrop is the symbol for Console,' explained Denis. 'People plant the bulb in the dark ground and it comes up in the spring. It is a sign to the people that. amidst the darkness, some light will appear at some stage. It is a sign of new life and hope.'

Following the ceremony, all of the guests retired to Clonard Church Community Centre, where the Ladies Committee of Clonard had prepared a feast of tea and cakes. Monsignor Dennis Lennon PP also made a blessing.

The Console Ceremony of light takes place each year on the last Sunday in November. According to Denis, it is one of the most important events of the year for the national suicide charity.

'We hold it just before Christmas as we are aware that it can be a tough time for those who have lost someone to suicide. We feel that it is the time when a loss of a loved one can be felt more deeply,' said Denis. 'This ceremony is supposed to give people a bit of hope for the season ahead.'

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