As we continue our celebration of Our Lord Jesus’ resurrection during this Easter season, we want to thank those who donated the Paschal candles for our parish. They are: Hipolito Abreu, Mary Bitterman, Cathy, Greg Derlacki, Clausi-Messi Family and in memory of Melonie Birmingham, Maraviglia Family, Peggy O’Donnell, Rinella Family, and Santelli Family.
Thank you for your generosity in providing us with these candles which are an important part of our worship.
Maybe we don’t think very much about the Easter, or Paschal, candle, but it is an important symbol of our faith and plays a central role in our worship. The Paschal candle is lit from the new fire at the Easter Vigil. This new fire represents the light of the Risen Christ, shining in our darkest places. The church is kept dark at the beginning of the vigil and the Paschal candle is brought in. This symbolizes the light of the resurrection coming into the tomb and giving us, individually and as the whole body of the church, new life. We keep this candle lit during all of the liturgies in the Easter season as a reminder that Jesus the Christ has risen from the dead and gives us light to guide us to himself.
Paschal Candle at St. Celestine Church
We also light this candle at baptisms and funerals. In baptism, we are reborn to a new life as God’s adopted sons and daughters. God gives us a new life, so that we no longer live for ourselves but for God and with God. The baptized person is given a candle which is lit from the Paschal candle. It reminds us that we have received the light of Christ and it also reminds us that a candle doesn’t lose any light when it shares its light with another, but the whole world grows brighter. This reminds us that we are called to share our light with one another. We also light it at funerals, just as we put a white pall over the body, because at the funeral, we pray that “the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6), and that the person will finally share fully in God’s divine life.
Paschal Candle at St. Cyprian Church
On the candle we have important symbols. The Greek alpha and omega show that Christ is the beginning and end of all things.
The year reminds us that all time belongs to God, who is its author. The cross and the five wax bits, which contain grains of incense, represent Jesus’ crucifixion and the wounds he suffered to free us from sin. In this candle, we are reminded that Christ is the light of the world, and as his disciples, we are called to follow that light and to spread it in our world.
Fr. Brendan Guilfoil