The Armchair Liturgist Forgets To Light Candles

Things get busy at a parish before a weekend Mass. Every so often, something gets missed. I’m sure your parish never has to trouble over this problem, but what would you do if the sacristan forgot to light the candles before Mass?

One parish I know (there are likely more) lights the one candle at the ambo before the readings, and the two as the altar is being prepared.

Any other ideas?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist Forgets To Light Candles

  1. Liam says:

    You do what you can; for example, if noticed before the readings begin, it could be done after the collect prayer. In terms of the “looking planned” idea, FWIW, GIRM 117 directs that, in the preparation of things *before* Mass, the altar candles be lit (so *not* during the interval after the homily during the preparation rites during Mass itself), and candles for the Gospel are for the Gospel procession, if any, not candles in place at the ambo in echo of the altar candles.

  2. Devin Rice says:

    I am mostly a “Say the Black, do the Red” type of person, but in this case, once the Mass has started I would skip the candle lighting. I don’t think there would be a time when such a lighting would go unnoticed. And a least in my area, most of the altar candles have metal ring on the top that mostly hides the flame (I have no idea what that is called), so most of the congregation one way or the other couldn’t tell if the candles are lit or not.

    • Liam says:

      It’s called a follower.

      For bonus points, the candle lighter incorporating an adjustable long taper (unfixed waxed wick) for lighting and bell for extinguishing a candle is called a lucifer, a term sometimes also use to describe the acolytes who bear liturgical torches (candle lanterns on poles) during the Eucharistic prayer (torches are not limited in use to the Extraordinary Form, though I wouldn’t say they are common in the Ordinary Form in the USA).

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