Mar 9, 2018

Q: What are the Church’s norms about the Paschal Candle?

A: The most succinct directives for the Easter Candle are from the 1988 document of the Congregation for Divine Worship, “On the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts,” Paschales Solemnitatis: “The paschal candle should be prepared, which for effective symbolism must be made of wax, never be artificial, be renewed each year, be only one in number, and be of sufficiently large size so that it may evoke the truth that Christ is the light of the world. It is blessed with the signs and words prescribed in the Missal or by the Conference of Bishops” (82).

That is, the parish’s paschal candle ought to be made purely of wax; it ought to be replaced each year, and not held over from the past year(s); it ought to be alone at the vigil, and not accompanied by other Paschal Candles, for example, from a second or third parish pastored by the priest; and it ought to be large. It is a sacramental sign of Jesus: new life, new light, new promised land.

—Answered by Christopher Carstens, Editor, Adoremus Bulletin