Monthly Archives: April 2009

Christ be our Light

When I was reflecting on where to go next with the blog… this song came to my mind

Longing for light, we wait in darkness.
Longing for truth, we turn to you.
Make us your own, your holy people,
light for the world to see.

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

If you’d like to listen to the song, Christ Be Our Light.


So you may be wondering about the design now that you’ve seen the actual 2009 Paschal Candle. I hinted about the inspiration coming from our pilgrimage to Mexico City earlier this year. While on pilgrimage we spent time understanding the culture on St. Juan Diego and the indigenous people of that area around the early 1500’s. We saw lots of stone carvings and so that is where I went with this design. I choose the color grey to represent the stone that was used during the time of Juan Diego. Then I set out to find images that I thought represented the Paschal mystery. The picture below has images which I found and used on the candle to represent water and the Holy Spirit – the waters of baptism and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now begins the Easter Season

I love that Easter is not just one day… for us Catholics we have from now until Pentecost for our Easter Celebration. This also means that the paschal candle will be lit at all services from Easter Day through to Pentecost, when the Church celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit, marking the conclusion of the Easter season, the “Great Fifty Days” of Easter.

Proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus, the paschal candle remains in its place in the sanctuary or near the ambo until Pentecost. After Pentecost, throughout the rest of the year the candle is bit at every baptism and funeral celebrated by our parish. At baptisms it is used to light the candles that represent the light of Christ.


Our Saturday Easter Vigil Mass was beautiful! We welcomed 6 adults and 5 children into our church. Jesus is relevant today as we witnessed the “Yes” proclaimed by those who were baptized. The light of Christ was shining bright in the hearts of everyone and as you can see in the following pictures of this year’s Paschal Candle!

Above: The initial lighting of the candle from the Easter fire. Here Fr. Kerns is outlining the cross as he recites the prayer said over the candle (see post on April 7)

Below: We have Deacon John Riherd assisting Fr. Kerns as the candle is dipped into the baptismal font three times. (see post on April 9 for prayer)

Good Friday

Dear Heavenly Father,
As the Paschal candle remains dark this Good Friday waiting for the first light of our Easter celebrations, we wait in solemn reflection and ask You to prepare our hearts for the immense joy of Christ’s resurrection. A Paschal candle truly represents Your Son’s steadfast presence in our midst, its flickering flame dancing with light and warmth to illuminate our shadowed world. In the splendor of this holy time, we pass over from sin to forgiveness, from death to life, from coldness to warmth, from despair to hope, from darkness to light.

May the Paschal candle always be a sign of Your presence among us as an enduring reminder of the love and sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray.


In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:4-5

Illustration 1999 S. Erspamer

Holy Thursday

So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” John 13:12-15

The above passage is taken from the Gospel that will be read at this evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Holy Thursday. We hear the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. Tonight’s ritual of the washing of the feet is about service through the washing with water and on Saturday it will be about birth to new life through fire and water. At the beginning of the Easter Vigil liturgy the priest lights and blesses the “new fire” outside the sanctuary. He then uses the blessed flame to kindle the Paschal Candle, a large candle which symbolizes the Risen Christ. Later on, the priest blesses the water of the baptismal font in preparation for the baptism of catechumens and dips the bottom part of the Candle into the font three times, invoking Jesus Christ to send the Holy Spirit upon the water. After this, he proceeds to baptize the catechumens. The following prayer is recited while the candle is dipped three times into the water.

We ask you,
with your Son
to send the Holy Spirit
upon the waters of this font.
May all who are buried with Christ
in the death of baptism
rise also with him to newness of life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Lent is coming to an end

As we finish up the candles for the Easter Vigil, I am reminded that Lent will be ending tomorrow evening. I still have a mess on my craft table from working on the candles as you can see in the picture below. Roger has polished the Paschal Candle so it is ready to go for Saturday evening. I’ve decided not to post a picture of the actual candle until Saturday so check back then.

I read an interesting article in this months issue of Living with Christ” which I will include bits of for you to enjoy also.

The Size of the Paschal Candle Early Christians rather naturally viewed the kindling of the new fire at the Easter Vigil as a symbol of the presence of their resurrected Lord, the new “pillar of fire” (see Exodus 12:21-22). Thus, the candle grew in size so as to merit the attribution of pillar mentioned in the Exsultet.

There have been paschal candles weighing more than 300 pounds. In the medieval church they often reached astonishing sizes. For example, the paschal candle at Salisbury Cathedral was said to be 36 feet tall! Remember our Paschal Candle is about 4 feet tall and weighs around 9 pounds.

Lighting of the Candle

The first part of the Easter Vigil is the Service of Light. Our Paschal Candle will be lit from the fire and the following prayer will be read:

Christ yesterday and today
beginning and the end
Alpha and Omega
all time belongs to him
and all the ages
to him be glory and power
through every age forever.
During this prayer the priest will trace the vertical arm of the cross, the horizontal arm , the alpha above the cross, the omega below the cross, the ‘2’ upper left, the ‘0’ upper right, the ‘0’ lower left and the ‘9’ lower right.
The Symbols: The paschal candle is inscribed with a cross, the current year (traced on the four side of the cross), and the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet: an alpha (A) above the cross and an omega below. The symbols on the cross reinforce the point that Christ is present among us now and throughout eternity. Christ is the same yesterday and today, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End (Revelations 21:6;22:13)

Candle from 2008 1

Last year I tried a new technique for the design of the Paschal Candle. A friend at Holy Redeemer was showing me their candle and I was very intrigue by the design. An artist had used thin colored wax sheets to cut out the design and then pressed it onto the candle. Wax sticks to wax very well. So I purchased some of these sheets and got out my exacto knife and began cutting. The upper band represents fire, flames and the Holy Spirit while the lower band represents the waters of baptism. In the middle, we have the cross, current year and the Alpha and Omega symbols. This years candle will also incorporate these thin wax sheets which you will see come Easter.


Here is a picture from our pilgrimage that was part of the inspiration for the design on the Paschal Candle for 2009. The native people from the time of Juan Diego were master stone carvers as can be seen in this stone font found in the National Museum of Archeology in Mexico City. Both the color and design elements became the foundation for my design.
I have spent many hours today working on the candle. If your lucky I might post a picture of the work in progress.