People can remember loved ones at annual tree of light ceremony

Visiting Nurse Services of Connecticut (VNS) will host the 23rd annual Tree of Light ceremonies in 11 communities throughout Fairfield and New Haven counties on Thursday, Dec. 12.

The traditional community gatherings began in 1991 as friends and families of hospice patients cared for by VNS came together to remember their departed loved ones at a community tree lighting ceremony on a town green.

This year, nearly 1,000 residents will participate in the 11 tree lighting ceremonies and have the names of their departed family members and friends read during commemoration ceremony. The ceremonies are non-denominational and the public is invited.

The Milford Tree of Light ceremony will take place at the Mayor’s Office Parkette, 110 River Street, starting at 6:30 p.m. Each Tree of Light ceremony will include a memorial roll reading of the names of the departed, music and a brief inspirational reading, tree lighting and a hosted reception.

Many families mark the occasion by contributing a symbolic memorial light to their community’s Tree of Light. These contributions benefit VNS’ Hospice at Home program and enable VNS to provide compassionate care and comfort for individual families in need. The memorial green, blue and white lights symbolize the comfort, dignity and peace provided by the professional staff and volunteers of VNS’ Hospice at Home program.

Tina Bernacki, director of Hospice Services at VNS, said many families “celebrate the spirit and memory of their departed loved ones by having a memorial light on their community’s tree, knowing that these lights are an opportunity to help those who may be in need of compassionate nursing and hospice care in the next year.”

Residents are invited to have the names of their family members or loved ones read during the memorial roll or to have a memorial light on their community’s tree.

For information, call VNS at 203-366-3821, Ext 1111, or visit