Candle lit for those who have died in pandemic during minster’s Day to Remember

Candles have been lit at York Minster as part of a Day to Remember, marking those who have died during 2020.

Families were welcomed into the cathedral on Monday – All Souls’ Day – to pray and to light a candle in memory of loved ones.

Prayers were said on the hour and there was a service of Holy Communion at midday.

A special candle was lit for all those who have died so far during the coronavirus pandemic.

York Minster’s Season of Remembrance
York Minster’s Season of Remembrance

This will burn at major services throughout Advent and Christmas, the minster said.

Canon Michael Smith, canon pastor at York Minster, said people coping with bereavement this year have been severely challenged by the constraints of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The death of a loved one – whenever it occurs – is one of life’s most difficult moments,” he said.

“In normal circumstances, we can comfort the dying, support each other in our grief and gather to share our memories and to say goodbye.”

He said: “Lockdown, social distancing and self-isolation prevented many people from being with their loved ones in their last days.

“Continuing limits on funerals and gatherings have made it all but impossible for individuals and communities to come together to remember and celebrate their dead.

“There is a great deal of unresolved grief as a result of these harrowing circumstances.

“We hope that this day to remember those who have died this year, on All Souls’ Day, will give some comfort to everyone who has recently faced the death of a loved one.”

The minster’s annual Requiem Eucharist for All Souls’ Day, to remember loved ones who have died, was taking place on Monday evening.