Ceremony honors loved ones no longer with us

Heisler Park will glow with lights as members of the public gather to remember and celebrate the lives of deceased loved ones Sunday night.

Memory JAR, a San Clemente nonprofit that offers bereavement support, will host a candlelight vigil from 4 to 6 p.m. at the park, near Myrtle Street and Cliff Drive, according to an event flier.

Attendees should meet at the park's picnic tables to decorate luminaries for the first hour, the flier said. Guests, using battery-operated tea lights, will head to the beach for the lighting ceremony during the second hour.

Memory JAR will provide the luminaries, pens and lights for the ceremony, co-founder Karen Knee wrote in an email.

"We stumbled upon the location when we were discussing where to hold a candle-lighting," Knee said. "My sister Nancy and I drove along the coast just checking out beaches and decided this one was perfect — gorgeous location with a breathtaking view of the ocean, ample parking, picnic benches and restrooms. It really is the perfect location."

Knee and her son Robert Rodrigues founded the organization in 2004 after Knee's other son, 19-year-old James Anthony Rodrigues, died in an auto collision on the 5 Freeway while driving back to Orange County from Pleasanton in July 2003, she said.

James Rodrigues' initials spell JAR.

The organization has raised more than $100,000 since its founding, with all money going toward bereavement services, such as funeral planning and tips on writing a eulogy, and support for Memory JAR's website, http://www.memoryjar.org, Knee said.

Each luminary represents a loved one who is gone but not forgotten, according to the flier.

Those who can't attend the event but want a personalized luminary can email the loved one's name to info@memoryjar.org, the flier said.

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