Worldwide Candle Lighting

Each year on the second Sunday in December, the Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles to honor the memories of the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and grandchildren who left too soon. As candles are lit at 7pm local time, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor the memory of all children gone too soon. The Worldwide Candle Lighting gives bereaved families everywhere the opportunity to remember their children so that their lights may always shine! 


Now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, this annual Worldwide Candle Lighting, a gift to the bereavement community from The Compassionate Friends, creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. TCF's WWCL started in the United States in 1997 as a small internet observance, but has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of the remembrance. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten. The Oneonta Chapter of TCF has been holding a candle lighting ceremony in Oneonta, NY annually since 1996.

The Compassionate Friends and allied organizations are joined by local bereavement groups, churches, funeral homes, hospitals, hospices, children's gardens, schools, cemeteries, and community centers. Services have ranged in size from just a few people to nearly a thousand.


Every year you are invited to post a message in the Remembrance Book which will be available, during the event, at TCF's national website.


All allied bereavement organizations, churches, funeral homes, hospices, and formal and informal bereavement groups are invited to join in the remembrance.

Online Support


The Compassionate Friends offers "virtual chapters" through an Online Support Community (live chats). This program was established to encourage connecting and sharing among parents, grandparents, and siblings (over the age of 18) grieving the death of a child. The rooms supply support, encouragement, and friendship. The friendly atmosphere encourages conversation among friends; friends who understand the emotions you're experiencing. There are general bereavement sessions as well as more specific sessions. Click here for a schedule of live chats, hosted nationally by TCF.

(Picture above taken by Jon Mazarak)
The Oneonta Memorial Garden

Envisioned in 2001

Created in the Spring of 2002

A Community Working Together…

The Oneonta Region Chapter of The Compassionate Friends, working in cooperation with the Oneonta High School Class of 2002, the Oneonta School District and local community members have joined forces to create a remembrance garden called the Oneonta Memorial Garden. The garden was built to honor and remember children, siblings, loved ones and friends whom we have lost. It is located behind the cafeteria on the campus of Oneonta High School. 

The garden provides a quiet place for peaceful contemplation, meditation and loving remembrance. The fact that the garden will be located in a place full of life, hope and dreams will serve to reaffirm the lives of those we have lost and to remind us of the joy they brought into our own lives.


This is a community project that is funded entirely by donations from the Oneonta Region Chapter of The Compassionate Friends, the Oneonta High School organizations, individuals and members of the business community.


The garden has a Memorial Walk of engraved pavers in memory of loved ones we have lost.  The pavers are 6x9'' and can accommodate 3 lines of text.  Each line of text must be no more than 14 characters, including punctuation marks and spaces.

How can I order a Memorial Paver?

Please fill out a paver form and send to the address listed on the form. Please feel free to contact us with any questions. to discuss how to purchase paver.

How can I get involved?

Make a monetary donation in your own name or in memory of someone you have lost, offer your time and talent, and/or volunteer to host a fundraising event.

**Businesses can donate (or offer at cost) goods and services – such as landscaping materials, plants, trees, shrubs, printing, copying, etc.

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