PS 82: Easter Fire and Paschal Candle

Jesus arms outstretchedRemember, you can check the full document on this site, among many on the internet.

82. The first part consists of symbolic acts and gestures, which require that they be performed in all their fullness and nobility, so that their meaning, as explained by the introductory words of the celebrant and the liturgical prayers, may be truly understood by the faithful.
In so far as possible, a suitable place should be prepared outside the church for the blessing of the new fire, whose flames should be such that they genuinely dispel the darkness and light up the night.

The importance of beginning at night is to ensure the significance of the fire and all the rituals that accompany this first part of the Vigil.. The challenge in many places is how to ensure the texts of the outdoor location be heard by most everyone.

The candle is important, and described in detail:

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. (Cf. Roman Missal, The Easter Vigil, 10-12)

Annual renewal means a significant piece remains at the end of Lent. “Significantly large,” what do you make of that? My parish uses a candle four feet tall and three inches wide. No other candle compares to it.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to PS 82: Easter Fire and Paschal Candle

  1. Liam says:

    “Significantly large” should, in practical terms, be *at least* be large enough to be burned through the 50 days of Eastertide *plus* baptisms and funerals until the following Easter. There are places I wonder if anyone even thought about that….

  2. FrMichael says:

    We get a 6 foot candle (4 inch diameter) here. When you add up all the Easter Masses, baptisms, and funerals, it shrinks to about 3 feet over the course of the year.

    I once filled in for a sick pastor (with no associate) for a Vigil. The “fire” consisted of a Sterno can. Such was my embarrassment that I was glad the congregation stayed inside for the Service of Light!

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