By Mary Matarazzo Bryant, Delta Omega (Murray State U), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee Chair
There are many special traditions and events that take place only at our AOII International Conventions. One of these is the Service for Candle Lighting at Convention. It honors our Founders and ALL collegiate chapters. It is a service and non-members may also attend.
The first was held at the 1927 Convention and was written by Melita Skillen, an Epsilon chapter alumna. At that Candle Lighting 35 AOII collegiate chapters had been installed and were represented. In the early years this service was held outside or in a pretty public space. Today it is held in a hotel ballroom. Now AOII has installed 214 collegiate chapters and each will be represented at the 2023 Candle Lighting.
Yes, but what really happens? At the opening of this beautiful service, five Past International Presidents, PIPs, walk up the center aisle. The PIP speaker leads and the other four, representing the Founders, come forward two-by-two. Following them are two lines of representatives for each collegiate chapter. Each carries a lit candle. Usually Collegiate Chapter Presidents are the representatives for their chapter. Chapters that are currently closed are assigned to an alumna of those chapters and/or others attending convention. At the front of the room the PIPs go onto a stage and the two chapter representative lines turn in opposite directions to encircle the audience with light.
After an introduction of the service, the PIP speaker states, “May the chapters of our Fraternity hand down through the generations to come, the spark from the altar of our Founding.” At this point, the representatives of each chapter, one by one, come to microphones at the front of the room. The order of the speakers is by the date a chapter was installed. Alpha chapter is always first and the newest chapter is always at the end. Each representative states the chapter name, its submotto and its university/college location and then walks back to the circle.
In conclusion the PIPS place their candles on a table and this is read, “So, we honor you, our Founders…You, our sisters, are not a favored few enjoying only the privileges of a Fraternity. To you is committed a task. May our Ritual, as reflected in the lives of our Founders, be a reality. May it distinguish us as a group and inspire you to provide whole-hearted cooperation to your college or university, loyalty and love to your Fraternity, and conscientious service to our community everywhere.”
This AOII service is unique. It not only honors our Founders but gives a timeline, by installation date, of all AOII chapters. When was your chapter installed? Where will your chapter representative be in the 2023 Candle Lighting circle?
You may contact the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) about anything Ritual-related at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org