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The Feast of Saint Matthias
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Don’t forget your Paschal candle (You can buy it online!)


Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P.-(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Anna Ashkova - published on 03/30/20

Lit on the night of Easter, the great Paschal candle is there to light your prayers. If you do not have candles at home, you can buy them online. And don't forget to buy small individual candles for each member of your family.

Lit at the beginning of the Easter Vigil, the Paschal candle is the symbol of Christ, the Light of the World, who has conquered death through his Resurrection. The great Paschal candle is there to light your prayers. If you do not have any candles at home, you can surely get a Paschal candle one on the Internet. And don’t forget to buy small individual candles for each member of your family. 

It burns throughout the Easter season and is lit during baptism ceremonies to recall that the baptized receive life from the resurrected Christ. It is also lit next to caskets during funeral Masses, to evoke the sacrament of baptism and life eternal.

Before the 10th century the Paschal candle was broken up into fragments, which were then divided among the faithful after the Easter Vigil. Today, the candle is placed in a special stand, where it remains for the 50 days of the Easter season and is lit for each liturgical service. After Pentecost it is moved next to the baptism font.

You too can prepare you own Paschal candle to grace your prayer corner at home. But first, make sure you order them online now, because you need to anticipate delivery delays due to the situation with Covid-19. And make sure to include smaller, individual candles for each member of your family (Be extra careful when handling the package! Don’t forget to wear gloves and if possible wait one or two days before opening it. It is also strongly advised to disinfect the package and its contents with rubbing alcohol or a mixture of water and bleach.)

How to decorate your candle

A Paschal candle should contain the following symbols: a cross at the center, with an Alpha above it and an Omega below it, signifying that Christ is the beginning and the end of all things. Finally, there are also the five wounds of Christ, represented by incense grains inserted in the candle wax. Aside from these symbols, you can also represent the Lamb, the Tree of Life, the Sacred Heart or the Good Shepherd, in inspiring yourself from illuminations or other liturgical symbols.

You can use acrylic paint to decorate your candle: first complete your designs on paper. Draw and cut out your shapes. Place the shapes on the candle and scratch their outline in wax with a pin or a needle (a technique used in iconography to draw outlines on a flat surface). Paint in the shapes on the candle with acrylic and let them dry.  

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