Belfast Cathedral – known locally as St. Anne’s Cathedral – has launched an initiative to celebrate life in the year 2020.
The cathedral is inviting members of the public to pay their respects to lost friends and loved ones through Lives Remembered, an online Book of Remembrance which honours those who have died from Covid and from other causes in this tumultuous year.
Tributes and personal, real-life stories can be uploaded onto the Lives Reflected website as a way of inspiring positive messages of love, hope and kindness and celebrating the future.
“This initiative is to help people celebrate the lives of those who are special, whether by reflecting on those lost in our communities since the start of the current pandemic or giving thanks for the inspiration and dedication of those who have carried us through its darkest days”, says the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev. Stephen Forde.
Inspired by St. Paul’s Cathedral’s Remember Me campaign, the website will collate tributes, reminiscences and stories contributed by people from across Northern Ireland and beyond. The hope is that the initiative will be a continuing legacy of memories retold, a public treasure for years to come.
Lives Reflected will be a shared space where families and individuals from all communities and backgrounds can join hands on a journey through bereavement and towards personal healing.
A special place for reflection will be set aside in the cathedral, where people can view their online tributes on a digital display. It will be a quiet spot for prayer and contemplation, an opportunity to remember and light a candle for loved ones. Dean Forde invites members of the public to visit the cathedral and reflect on the challenges, sacrifices and losses of 2020.
“Through all the restrictions of these past months, it has been difficult to gather our memories and share our stories of those we have loved and known, but lost,” he says.
“Lives Reflected allows us a place to share our memories and celebrate the best in the people we know. It can help heal our losses with a promise of togetherness for the future.”
The striking visual element of Lives Reflected is the work of Belfast branding agency Mammoth. The design team created the name, logo, website and video content, based around the image of the 40-metre high Spire of Hope, a steel sculpture built into the cathedral roof and embedded in the nave. Tiny beams of light represent a galaxy of lost souls, forever illuminating and connecting the lives of their surviving loved ones.
The initiative launch was attended by former Northern Ireland international footballer Gareth McAuley, whose father passed away in 2020.
The next phase of the campaign will see selected messages transposed onto permanent display panels inside the cathedral. And a call will go out to artists for the creation of a unique piece of work to be unveiled on 23 March 2021, the anniversary of Northern Ireland’s first lockdown.
Go to www.livesreflected.com to make a dedication.
- The website is available to everyone, no log-in details are required.
- Tributes require a photograph and message about the person who is being commemorated.
- All memorial tributes require a death certificate number.