As the night draws near the bags and candles are being setup by each campsite. A member of each team begins to light the candles. Then as the night darkens the noisy walkers around the track start to hush and silence. There is now a quiet silence and a few children is all you can really hear. The candles now glow around the track.
The Committee starts the ceremony on stage as everyone walks to their campsite in silence. The service starts, kind words are spoken, and then they begin to read all the names of those who have a luminary in honor of them on the track. The names are in alphabetical order.. .. their voice is so clear, and there are the crickets chirping in the background as the bags glow around the track. One name then another, and another, and another. You think there is no way there can be this many that cancer has affected, but now you see the bags glowing and hear the names being called. Then as they reach the last one more kind words are said as they then announce the luminaries we placed around the track in memory of loved ones. The names are all read, and again one after another. There is a point in the ceremony to where we may feel like it will never end. Then after the last name is read a prayer is spoken. Quietly and slowly some start to get up and walk slowly around the track. In the dark quietly we all slowly walk and look at the bags to read the names. There are just so many of them…
It’s very hard to go through this service without shedding a tear! It really hits home. I have never experienced anything like this until joining relay.
If you would like to experience the luminary service it will start at 9pm at the St. Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Indiana on June 15th, 2012.