Since the holy season of Advent is almost upon us, I had to bring this question about the Advent Wreath up. I know that the Advent Wreath has its own unique lighting on the First Sunday of Advent because of the blessing, but does there have to be a special point during Mass in which the wreath needs to be lit on the Second, Third, and Fourth Sundays, or could the wreath be lit before Mass? I was told last year that it was improper for the wreath to be lit before Mass on the other three Sundays, but I'm not sure if that was just someone's personal preference or if it was an actual rule.
According to the introductory notes from chapter 47 of the Book of Blessings:
- When the Advent Wreath is used in church, on the Second and succeeding Sundays of Advent the candles are lighted either before Mass begins or immediately before the opening prayer; no additional rites or prayers are used. Source]
The candles on the wreath are usually lit before Mass when the altar boys light the altar candles. Once something is blessed it doesn't need to be re-blessed each week - just like the Easter candle is only blessed once, but lit during Mass during Easter week.
Thanks for reminding me that I need to go buy new candles for my home wreath. I think we finially used up the stubs last year! :)
I know Mrs. Sally at our church during Advent usually parishoners sign up to light it each week and they light the wreath right before our gathering hymn in the beginning of the mass.:)
In the last several years in our Parish, the Advent wreath has been blessed twice, at both the Saturday and Sunday celebrations of the First Sunday in Advent.
On the second, third and fourth Sundays the candles are lit only after a special prayer that is inserted between the Entrance Hymn and the Greeting.
I have to admit that I'd like to see the Advent wreath candles lit along with all other candles each week so as to not turn a minor symbol into a ritual.