Candles around the world are going to be lit this coming Sunday when the Compassionate Friends holds its annual worldwide candle lighting ceremony.

Locally, the 22nd annual ceremony is being held at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at The Tables in downtown Redwood Falls.

This annual event provides an opportunity for family and friends to gather for an hour to honor the memories of those sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandsons and granddaughters that their loved ones believe left the world too soon. 

Compassionate Friends is an organization dedicated to supporting families struggling with the death of a child. The annual candle lighting ceremony is part of a 24-hour “wave of light” that circles the globe as a way to remember those lives lost.

First held in 1997, the event now involves hundreds of thousands of people who light candles to honor the memories of their loved ones.

Those who plan to attend and participate in the ceremony are asked to bring a candle and a photo or some other memento of the child they are remembering. The official candle lighting time is 7 p.m.

However, the Redwood Falls organizers would like to set up the luminaries and make Christmas ornaments prior to the candle lighting. Those who would like to participate in these activities are invited to show up any time after 6 p.m. All are welcome to bring a luminary or Christmas ornament they have made in advance. Otherwise, the Compassionate Friends will have supplies available to make one that night.

After Sunday’s ceremony, there will be a short time for sharing memories, so the organizers ask those who plan to attend bring a special photo or other memento of your lost loved one.

As was the case last year, a luminary will be lit outside of the entrance to The Tables in memory of each child. To obtain a luminary, which may be individualized for each child, contact Cheryl Gewerth at (507) 430-3252 or Joni Nieland at (507) 644-3354. 

Anyone who has lost a child, grandchild or sibling is invited to attend the Compassionate Friends ceremony this Sunday night.

Learn more about Compassionate Friends on its Web site at wwwcompassionatefriends.org.