Dóchas – The Light of Hope ‘Hope is the Light that Never goes out’

A Candlelight procession was organised by UL’s Chaplaincy, Students’ Union, Irish World Academy and  the Charity Console-Living with suicide and took place on Tuesday night , December 2nd. The Procession began outside the Students’ Union where a large group of students and visitors had gathered. All were welcomed by Margaret O’Connor (Console),  Amy Flanagan( UL Psychology Society) and Shane McCormack (SU Welfare Officer). Some of the participants had travelled distances to be present.Local radio and the Limerick Leader had advertised this event.With lighted candles and walking in companionship and solidarity, the procession wound its way through the Main Plaza, over the Living Bridge to the Irish World Academy where a Service of Reflection and Remembrance took place.  This opened with a choir of 130 students conducted by Hannah Fahey  who  set the tone of the Service with their rendering of Suantraí. This was followed by a “Gathering  In Moment” led by Sr Sarah O’Rourke FMA. As well as remembering the precious people who had died, for the participants it was a moment of slowing down in the midst of hurry and busyness, a space to pause and become attentive, to support one another, to simply be.  Margaret O’Connor from Console then shared some  of her story, her struggles and what has sustained her in the loss of her husband Christy and her son Stevie through suicide.  Margaret and Tony, a  PhD student who has lost his mother to suicide then recited a poem “As you travel through life”. An instrumental slow air played on the concertina gave all time to reflect and ponder on what had been shared. A reflection called “The Four Candles” was then acted out by members of the Psychology Society and the Students’ Union. The visual quenching and lighting of candles representing FAITH, LOVE, PEACE and HOPE was a  powerful expression of the importance of HOPE. With this flame alight we can live with faith, peace and love. Fr John Campion SDB thanked all who participated and had made this event possible. The Service concluded with the UL Gospel Choir conducted by Kathleen Turner singing Hosanna. The participants then mingled in the foyer where light refreshments were served.

Sr Sarah O’Rourke FMA

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