Why Do Catholics Light Candles?

At Saint Patrick Catholic Church we have placed a votive candle stand near the Marian altar for parishioners who wish to light a candle in prayer. This is part of the continued effort to provide parishioners more opportunities for prayer and devotion to our Lord. Why do Catholics light candles?

Moreover, there is evidence that lit candles or oil lamps were burned at the tombs of saints, particularly martyrs, by the 200s, and before sacred images and relics by the 300s.

Why does the Catholic church light candles?

Burning votive candles are a common sight in most Catholic churches. … Lighting a candle for someone is a way to both extend your prayers and show solidarity with the person the prayer is being made on behalf of. The faithful also light candles as a sign of gratitude to God for answered prayers.

What is the significance of lighting a candle?

Lighting a candle symbolizes bringing light to our wishes or desires. A candle can be lit as a prayer for peace or a request for healing. People of Christian faith believe that lighting a candle symbolizes the light of Christ.

What does lighting a candle mean in Christianity?

In Christianity the candle is commonly used in worship both for decoration and ambiance, and as a symbol that represents the light of God or, specifically, the light of Christ.

Do Catholics light candles at home?

Catholics use candles at home to celebrate holy holidays. Advent wreaths are used in Catholic homes, with the family lighting the candles in prayer and observance of the weeks leading up to Christmas. Another wreath commonly used is the Lenten wreath or cross that is lighted during the weeks preceding Easter.

Throughout the Bible, fire is associated with God. In modern cultures, lit candles provide individuals an object for focusing their thoughts and prayers.

Candles, specifically fire, have always been a significant element in holy worship. In the Book of Exodus, God speaks to Moses from the burning bush that isn’t consumed by the fire.

Part of the instructions God gives to Moses includes the perpetual fire that must be maintained at the altar and never allowed to go out (Leviticus 6:13). In the Catholic church, the fire, or in this instance, the burning candle becomes an adoration to God. These sacraments include the Eucharist, marriage, confirmation, baptism, anointing of the sick, holy orders (ordaining of a priest, deacon, or bishop), and penance.

These are traditionally statues of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mother Mary, and saints specific to a current church holy day. Candles are lit and set in front of these statues during these church holiday seasons or holy days. Advent wreaths are used in Catholic homes, with the family lighting the candles in prayer and observance of the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Glass sanctuary candles are burned day and night during the Blessed Sacrament.

Use any adhesive (glue gun, tape, mounting tape) and attach it to the clip end of your wick. Then stick the wick to the bottom of your clear jar and hold until it is secure.

Supplies youll need: Crayons 11.3 oz cylinder clear jar 10 in wick with end clip Crisco Essential oil Adhesive Wooden craft stick Large sticker Candles were also used in Roman pagan culture for religious and military processions, showing the divine favor and presence of the gods.

These candles remind us of the many persecuted Christians in the first centuries who secretly celebrated Mass at night or in the catacombs by candlelight. They may also be used in the entrance and recessional processions of Mass and are carried to where the Gospel is read as a sign of triumphant joy in the presence of the words of Christ. Candlemas, or the Presentation of Christ in the Temple and the Purification of Mary, is especially rich in symbolism as it relates to candles.

When Jesus was presented in the Temple by Mary and Joseph, Simeon gave a famous prophecy about Christ being a light to Gentile nations and a sign for the Jewish people. In addition to these special days, candles also play a role in the blessing of ashes and palms, the dedication of churches and cemeteries, and the Mass of a newly ordained priest. This was part of our long tradition of teaching our young people marketable skills in the workplace, a special interest of Mercy Home President Monsignor C.J.

Almost nothing says Catholic like votive candles, especially if they are placed before images or statues in a church setting. When a film or television show wants the audience to know a character is Catholic, a confessional or a rack of votive candles is sure to turn up.

Father William Saunders explains that there is evidence that lit candles or oil lamps were burned at the tombs of saints, particularly martyrs, by the 200s, and before sacred images and relics by the 300s. The vigil candle that is lit remains so for a period of time (either a certain number of hours or a few days) and symbolizes how the person desires to remain present to the Lord in prayer even though we may depart and go about our daily business. It also reminds the individual how the saint is constantly praying for their petitions.

Similar to incense, the light of the candles is a physical reminder that points our souls to God.

Essential to Catholic Celebrations

In most every part of Catholic celebrations and rituals, lighting of candles play a very significant role. Candles are lighted during the celebration of the Mass, on liturgical and funeral processions and evening prayer ceremonies. Candles are lit before the Tabernacle to signify the Lord’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament and to call for reverence on the part of the faithful.

Significant in Judaism

In Judaism, a perpetual light was kept burning in the Temple and the synagogues not only to insure the ability to light other candles or oil lamps in the evening but also to show the presence of God (Exodus 27:20-21 and Leviticus 24:2-4). Later, the Talmud prescribed a lit lamp at the Ark, where the Torah and other writings of Sacred Scripture were kept, to show reverence to the Word of God. This practice probably influenced our own tradition of having a lit candle near the Tabernacle to indicate the presence of and to show reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.

Pre-Dates Written History

Christians adapted the use of lit candles for Mass, liturgical processions, evening prayer ceremonies, funeral processions, and, again, to show reverence to the reserved Blessed Sacrament. Moreover, there is evidence that lit candles or oil lamps were burned at the tombs of saints, particularly martyrs, by the 200s, and before sacred images and relics by the 300s. However, this practice probably existed well before our available written evidence.

A Symbol of Christ

In our Catholic tradition, in early times as well as today, light has a special significance — Christ. Recall Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. No follower of mine shall ever walk in darkness; no, he shall possess the light of life” (John 8:12) and “I have come to the world as its light, to keep anyone who believes in me from remaining in the dark” (John 12:46).In our liturgy for the Sacrament of Baptism, the priest presents a candle lit from the Paschal candle, which in turn symbolizes the Paschal mystery, and says to the newly baptized, “You have been enlightened by Christ. Walk always as children of the light and keep the flame of faith alive in your hearts. When the Lord comes, may you go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom” (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). The light is a symbol of Christ Himself.

Catholic Candles for Prayer and Worship

Throughout the Bible, fire is associated with God. In modern cultures, lit candles provide individuals an object for focusing their thoughts and prayers.

Why Do Catholics Light Candles?

The most common image people have of Catholic candles is the candle rack of votives that parishioners light when saying a prayer. These candles are often referred to as prayer candles or intention candles, since the individual lighting the candle makes a prayer with a specific intention.

Reasons Catholics Light Candles

Catholics often light candles for an individual. This may be for the soul of a deceased loved one or someone who is sick. Prayers are said for those in need of divine intervention or a divine blessing. Individuals also light prayer candles when seeking divine guidance. The lighting of a votive candle isn’t always in a prayer of request. Some Catholics light a candle in gratitude of blessings bestowed on them.

Moses and the Burning Bush

In the Old Testament, there is a clear connection between God and fire. In the Book of Exodus, God speaks to Moses from the burning bush that isn’t consumed by the fire. God tells Moses to remove his shoes since the ground he is standing on is holy ground (Exodus 3:1-15).

Tabernacle in the Wilderness

God instructs Moses to build a portable Tabernacle so God can be with his people. This Tabernacle features the Brazen Altar (bronze altar) where animal sacrifices are made to God. Part of the instructions God gives to Moses includes the perpetual fire that must be maintained at the altar and never allowed to go out (Leviticus 6:13).

The Perpetual Fire and Adoration

The perpetual fire shows constant devotion to God and signifies that the place where the perpetual flame burns is a holy area that belongs only unto God since it is where God dwells. In the Catholic church, the fire, or in this instance, the burning candle becomes an adoration to God.

Candles Used in Catholic Worship

Since Catholic candles represent God’s Light that is eternal, it’s not surprising that candles have a prominent presence in Catholic worship services and rites. You’ll find altar candles are lighted for mass as well as during the seven sacraments. These sacraments include the Eucharist, marriage, confirmation, baptism, anointing of the sick, holy orders (ordaining of a priest, deacon, or bishop), and penance.

Illumination of Statues

Some Catholic churches have bye-altars, which are side-altars much smaller and less prominent than the high altar (central altar). Religious statues are often placed in front of the bye-altar. These are traditionally statues of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mother Mary, and saints specific to a current church holy day. Candles are lit and set in front of these statues during these church holiday seasons or holy days.

Candle Use During Holy Holidays

Catholics use candles at home to celebrate holy holidays. Advent wreaths are used in Catholic homes, with the family lighting the candles in prayer and observance of the weeks leading up to Christmas. Another wreath commonly used is the Lenten wreath or cross that is lighted during the weeks preceding Easter.

Votive Candles

The votive candle is found in candle racks. These are the candles that Catholics light for individual prayers.

Tea Candles

The smaller candle size is the tea candle. The tea candle is often used to illuminate statues.

Taper Candles

Taper candles are lit during mass and other church rites and celebrations. A smaller taper known as congregational tapers are used by individuals during the Easter Vigil Services as well as other worship ceremonies.

Candlemas Candles

Tapers taken home on Candlemas Day and are referred to as Candlemas candles. The candles are representative of when Christ entered the temple of Jerusalem. Candles are used since Christ is the Light of the world.

Glass Sanctuary Candle

Glass sanctuary candles are burned day and night during the Blessed Sacrament. These candles are usually contained in a red glass jar. The glass sanctuary candle signifies Christ’s love and are symbols of love and adoration for the savior.

Paschal Candle

The Paschal candle is a large column candle that is supported by an equally large candlestick. It is lit during Easter Mass and then used throughout the calendar year for various sacred services, such as confirmations, baptisms, and funerals. The Paschal candle is replaced every Easter.