Candle questions


I usually go to Sat 5pm Mass, as well as Sun morning Mass. I also get to daily mass on occasion.
I’ve noticed that sometimes all 6 larger candles behind the altar are always lit for Sun Mass, but sometimes there are only 2 smaller candles are lit, but I’m not sure if this is the case at Sat. 5pm mass or not. I know that there are only 2 smaller candles lit during the daily Mass.

Question: what would be the difference, and why sometimes all 6 large candles, and other times only the 2 smaller ones?


Sundays & Solemnities: all six candles are lit. ||| + |||
Feasts: four candles are lit. || + ||
Ferial Days: two candles are lit. | + |

You can add one more candle in the center of the altar when the bishop says the Mass.

||| |+ ||| or || |+ || or | |+ |


Thanks for your assistance, but now I have more questions.

I am sure our basilica has never had 11 +11 (4 candles)

It’s either been 1+1 (2 candles) or 3+3 (6 candles) on all occasions. What is a ferial day?
Sorry for the numbers of questions, I’m a baby Catholic as of last Easter. I’ve tried searching this and haven’t really come up with much.


At our parish there always two candles lit on either side of the tabernacle as well as the red candle which signifies the presence of Christ (The Blessed Sacrament) so we always have three candles minimum lit. In addition to that Sunday we can have as much as 10 lit however it is usually only seven and daily mass is had in a smaller chapel with no tabernacle and sometimes only have our larger candle with the year and nails signifying the wound of Jesus embedded in it lit.


It’s a principle called “progressive solemnity.” It means that the more important the occasion, the more solemn the Mass. A weekday Mass in July is less solemn than the Easter Vigil Mass, so there are less candles. Lighting more candles at the Sunday Mass (compared to daily Masses) reminds us that the Sunday Mass is the most important Mass of the week.


Hey, how about home candles? How long should you burn them? I don’t do it very often, but sometimes I light St. Jude, and other candles. I usually let them burn for half an hour or so.
I also have a votive candle holder I got from a Greek Orthodox gift shop. I just let the tea light burn out most of the time.


My mom always used 10-12 hour votives in her prayer corner, I try to use the same but they are hard to find nowadays. So usually I light tea lights that may burn 2 hours, during my prayers but I do have an oil lamp that burns until we go to sleep.


Reading the Bible one of the things I have always noticed was candles or lampstands in the temple, tabernacle and other holy places and what they have represented. In the Bible when describing the temple and the tabernacle, there is much ado about the lampstands. 10, or 7.

My parish has always had 4 during Mass, but another 2 for the Gospel.

When reading the Old Testament, one cannot help but see that our liturgy is born from the temple of sacrifices and the tabernacle of the Jewish world.


The GIRM says that 2, 4, or 6 candles may be lit. 7 may be lit if the diocesan bishop says the mass. There is no specification about Sundays/solemnities/feasts/ferial days; that is just a custom that has developed in some places. Nor is it specified where the candles must be placed, just that they “should be appropriately placed either on the altar or around it, according to the design of the altar and the sanctuary, so that the whole may be harmonious and the faithful may not be impeded from a clear view of what takes place at the altar or what is placed upon it.”


A ferial day is a plain daily Mass with no obligatory memorial, feast, or solemnity. Not to be confused with a feral day, which lives in alleys and avoids human contact.


This is from the GIRM

  1. The altar is to be covered with at least one white cloth. In addition, on or next to the altar are to be placed candlesticks with lighted candles: at least two in any celebration, or even four or six, especially for a Sunday Mass or a Holyday of Obligation, or if the Diocesan Bishop celebrates, then seven candlesticks with lighted candles. Likewise, on the altar or close to it, there is to be a cross adorned with a figure of Christ crucified…


I know two people who’s houses burned to the ground because of candles.

Please people, use extreme caution with candles at home. Never leave the room with a candle burning and never, ever leave candles burning around children.

I use candles rarely, and then only very high quality candles. The cheap ones burn dirty and leave soot on the ceiling.



The cat photo in your signature made this even funnier! :smiley:
:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:


In my parish we have two candles on the alter and at the back three candles on each side of the tabernacle what is in the centre. on Sundays and feast days we light six candles then when we have a Pontifical Mass the seventh candle is lit.

In nomine Patris, + et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
Introibo ad altare Dei. R: Ad deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.

closed #15

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