The 2022 Blue Christmas Ceremony in Oakland. Submitted photo

OAKLAND — The ShineOnCass Foundation is set to host its third annual Blue Christmas Ceremony for grieving families and friends, and those who support them, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 21.

The ceremony will be held on the Winter Solstice — the longest and darkest night of the year — at the Oakland Gazebo at Oakland Waterfront Park on Willey Point Road.

Light the Night Blue Christmas will feature music, speakers, and a reading of submitted names of loved ones’ remembered with the lighting of memorial blue candles, according to a news release from Monica Charette, executive director of the foundation.

Blue Christmas ceremonies are held around the world in acknowledgement that the holiday season can be difficult for many who are grieving.

“The holiday season is a time when celebrations of peace and joy contrast sharply with sadness and loneliness that come with loss,” said Charette. “Our hope is to provide a place where people feel supported, loved, and less alone in their grief.”

In addition to the blue light ceremony, the evening will also feature opening music by Will McPherson, local singers, and a special performance by award-winning recording artist Joan Kennedy and her daughter Grace, who will sing “Candle in the Window.”


Charette said the idea to host a community Blue Christmas ceremony came from a gathering organized 10 years ago by her friends after the passing of her 17-year-old daughter Cassidy Charette. Cassidy, for whom the nonprofit ShineOnCass Foundation was created, was a Messalonskee High School student, athlete, youth mentor, and longtime community volunteer. She died in a hayride accident in 2014.

“It was incredibly meaningful how people came together to support our family at this service, acknowledge our grief, and stand beside us during a very dark and lonely time,” Charette said. “We want to share that experience with others in our community, say their loved ones’ names with them, and help people feel less alone during this especially challenging time.”

The ceremony will also remember the 18 lives lost from the Lewiston tragedy. Anyone can participate by sharing their loved one’s name being remembered, and receive a blue candle to light at the ceremony. People are also welcome to attend in silent remembrance and offer support to others. To complete the form, visit The ceremony will be livestreamed on the ShineOnCass Facebook page.

In case of inclement weather, Blue Christmas will be held one day later, on Dec. 22.

For more information, visit or email


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