Sunday AssemblyThe Fourth H

Week 5: Candles

By Archbishop Michael Jackels

Witness Publisher

In a Catholic church candles are lit for various reasons.

There is a candle or oil lamp lit to signal that the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle, inviting us to pray there and to show reverence by genuflecting.

There may be candles lit near the taber­nacle or a statue of a saint, such as our Blessed Mother. These are called votive candles. They stand for our prayer intention presented to God, or for our desire to remain in prayer when our duties take us elsewhere.

Lit candles are placed on or near the ­altar during Holy Mass and during Eucha­ristic Adoration. This is a way to show reverence to God, and to create an atmosphere of festivity.

When used at Easter and at Baptism, candles are symbols of Jesus, who referred to himself and to his followers as the light of the world.

They can also be symbols of our gift of self, inspired by love for Jesus, living for and giving of ourselves in an extravagant, prodigal way, to honor God and serve the poor.