How do I light a candle?
There are prayer candles located at both St. Augustine and St. Edward parishes. These candles may be lit by anyone, Catholic or not, to demonstrate the intention of a person’s prayer. A small donation may is requested to offset the cost of the candle, to be placed in the provided envelopes and deposited in the box under the 10 hour candles, as follows:
Candles at St. Augustine
10 Hour Candles – located under the Infant of Prague statue on the side wall to the left of the main altar, please light these yourself as you offer your prayer – requested donation $.50 each
3 Day Candles – located at the side altars under the statues of Mary and the Sacred Heart on either side of the main altar, please light these yourself as you offer your prayer – requested donation $3 each
7 Day Candles – located on the main altar ,**Note: these candles are lit by Fr. each Saturday, please bring your donation to the parish office to have your candle lit the following Saturday** – requested donation $5 each
Candles at St. Edward
10 Hour Candles – please light these yourself as you offer your prayer – requested donation $.50 each
Why Do We Light Candles?
The practice of lighting candles is an important tradition in Catholic churches, communities and families. Its origins may be traced back in the Old Testament times where an oil lamp is lighted to “keep a flame burning perpetually” (Exodus 27:19-20), as “perpetual incense before the Lord from generation to generation” (Exodus 30:7-8) and as a “lamp stand in the Tent of Meeting…set up before the Lord as He has commanded Moses” (Exodus 40:24-25).
The New Testament further highlights the sanctity of this light in Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews. “A first tent was prepared with the lamp stand, the table and the bread of the presence; this is called the Holy Place” (Hebrews 9:2). In today’s Catholic tradition, this light has a very special place because it symbolizes Christ who said, “I am the Light of the world; the one who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have light and life” (John 8:12).
The light signifies our prayer offered in faith coming into the light of God. With the light of faith, we petition our Lord in prayer or petition a saint pictured in a nearby statue or image to pray with us and for us to the Lord. The word “vigil” comes from the Latin vigilia and refers to keeping watch. 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 our desire to remain present to the Lord in prayer even though we may depart and go about our daily business.
Another word for these candles is a “votive” candle and comes from the Latin votum, meaning promise, dedication or simply “prayer.” It reinforces the idea that the candles represent our prayers before God.
As humans, we are body and soul and our prayers often need to be expressed in a physical, tangible way. This helps our soul be at rest and is a way to deepen our spirituality. Similar to incense, the light of the candles is a physical reminder that points our souls to God. We light them not because we believe our prayers will be better heard by God, but because it provides something visual to connect our body and soul.