Pastor Manny Gomez provided the opening prayer, and Springfield Poet Laureate Magdalena Gomez gave a special poetry reading. Vocalist Vanessa Ford sang a memorial song, and Bishop Bruce Shaw provided the closing prayer. East Side Jazz with Robert Ferrier and David Picchi provided the live music.
To honor the lives lost during the pandemic, the Department of Health and Human Services displayed over 400 paper bags at the City Hall booth, meaning the lives lost during the pandemic. Marks were made available to those present so that they could write the names of their loved ones who had been lost. A flameless candle was placed in each bag to offer a symbol of hope and remembrance.
The Candlelight Remembrance Ceremony gathered Springfield City residents to encourage community members to acknowledge the loss of human life and the deep sense of pain that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the world over the past two years. The event provided space for participants to mourn and remember their loved ones who have passed by during the pandemic. The event also celebrated survivors of the COVID-19 pandemic and gave attendees the opportunity to celebrate the spirit, life and resilience that our community has demonstrated in the face of this global pandemic.
Mayor Sarno states: “It is important that we all take a moment to stop and reflect on the past two years and the road load that this COVID-19 pandemic has taken on all of us, especially for those who have experienced the loss. of a loved one, a friend, colleague or a special person.This pandemic has affected us all and we want to hold this special memorial ceremony by candlelight to honor the loved ones we have lost and support each other with love, kindness and compassion.”
HHS Commissioner Caulton-Harris said: “Public Health Month gives us the opportunity to stop and reflect on the human strain that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on the city of Springfield, Commonwealth, Nation and World. During our watch we take a break to remember, to reflect, as a city, we mourn with their loved ones and promise not to forget their lives, and we honor their heritage. ”
“I would like to thank the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Helen Caulton-Harris, and her dedicated staff for their unwavering efforts throughout this pandemic,” said Mayor Sarno. “Since day one, Commissioner Caulton-Harris has been at the forefront, working with all of our state, federal and community partners to help mitigate the spread and defeat this COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to her steadfast advocate for our community’s public health, the city has Springfield has been a leader in the Commonwealth in taking the necessary steps to keep our residents, businesses and the city’s workforce safe and healthy over the past two years.I am convinced that because of her proactive initiatives, based on science and medical information, was able to come out in front of this pandemic and reduce its impact on our Springfield. “
From the beginning of the pandemic, March 2020 to December 31, 2021, 40,744 Springfield residents tested positive for COVID-19. During the same period, 403 residents of Springfield died of COVID-related diseases (MDPH Chapter 93 Report, Mass.Gov).
The Candlelight Remembrance Ceremony featured remarks from Mayor Sarno, Commissioner Caulton-Harris, State Representative Williams, Councilman Lederman, and School Committee Vice President Collins.
BHM was also on site and provided a COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
The Candlelight Remembrance Ceremony was a program for Springfield Public Health Month, which hosted the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services (SDHHS). Every April, SDHHS, community partners and residents celebrate Public Health Month to raise awareness of the role and importance of public health locally as well as around the world.