Suicide bereaved gather in Cork church for celebration of light

Relatives remember loved ones who have lost their lives at annual service

Erica McCloskey picutred during the Console Celebration of light ceremony in St Patrick’s College Maynooth Co.Kildare today.Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Erica McCloskey picutred during the Console Celebration of light ceremony in St Patrick’s College Maynooth Co.Kildare today.Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

Poignant photographs of happier times were placed under the Christmas tree in a Cork church on Sunday as the suicide bereaved gathered for the annual Console Christmas Celebration of Light.

Relatives of the deceased lit candles all around the altar prior to the emotional service at the Sacred Heart Church in Western Road, Cork at 4pm. A minute’s silence was also observed to remember those who have lost their lives to suicide.

Celebrant Fr Alan Neville said people who are bereaved by suicide are often left completely broken and without hope.

“We lose not only our loved ones but our faith in the world and our faith in ourselves. Our theme this afternoon is simply hope. We do hope we can rediscover our strength to bear our loss.

“And we do hope to move on to make that loss part but not all of our lives. And we do hope we can risk living and loving again. Because without that possibility the life and love we give is lost forever. And our future is without hope. This is a place where nobody has easy answers or simple solutions.”

Gerard Rynn, counselling co-ordinator of Console Cork, said it was important for the suicide bereaved to have the opportunity to celebrate and remember their loved ones. He urged members of the public who are suicidal to contact the charity. He also appealed to the suicide bereaved to make contact with Console if they are suffering with the burden of their immense grief.

The ceremony involved poetry and reflections with a rendition of Sarah McLachlan’s ‘Angel’ proving to be the most moving musical contribution of the emotional service.

Over 500 people lost their lives to suicide in Ireland last year. The ceremony in Cork was one of nine celebrations of light being held nationally. Console can be reached at any time on freephone 1800 247 247. Information can be found at Console.ie