One by one, candles spread a glow through a quiet room in Toms River. Lights on a simple, sturdy evergreen begin to gleam like a galaxy of stars. Then, the air fills with prayers and hymns that transcend categories and unite everyone gathered. The Tree of Lights ritual at Holy Redeemer Hospice aims to bring comfort and courage to people lost in grief.
More than 50 folks in mourning are attending today's ceremony that begins at 1 PM. Director Jane Lynn Piccolo says that the tradition is in its second year in Toms River but is already well-entrenched throughout its regional system.