When I go to the traditional latin mass, moments before the consecration two servers bring up to candles and put them on the right and left center of the altar. Is this in the 1962 missal?

Based on my real life observations, two candles are for High Mass, and one candle for Low Mass. And yes, we are using the 1962 Missal in a church that has been doing the Tridentine Latin Mass for 18 years.


Prior to 1962, the rubrics did enjoin the lighting of a candle at low Mass. However, this rubric was regarded merely as directive and not observed

General Rubrics, XX, On the Preparation of the altar

…et ab eadem parte Epistolae paretur cereus ad elevationem Sacramenti accendendus…

…and by the same Epistle side is placed a candle lit at the elevation of the Sacrament…

In 1962, in recognition that the custom had mostly fallen into decadence and was no longer observed, the rubric was revised to

Usus accendendi cereum, prope altare, a Consecratione ad Communionem, ubi viget, servetur.

allowing it, where the custom prevailed.

However the lighting of two candles for High Mass is still enjoined by the Ritus Servandus which says (VIII, viii)

In Missa solemni ad finem praefationis accenduntur duo saltem intorticia ab acolythis, quae exstinguuntur post elevationem calicis, nisi aliqui sint communicandi, et tunc exstinguuntur post Communionem.

In a solemn Mass at the end of the Preface are lit at least two candles (torches) by the Acolytes, which are extinguished after the elevation of the Chalice, unless some are to communicate, and then they are extinguished after Communion.

I have never heard of this one, I guess because I have not seen it. Usually the only procession with candles, or what are called “torches” happen at the Sanctus. Torchbearers, at least two, four or six, process in led by the thurifer and kneel in the Sanctuary facing the altar. They stay there, kneeling on the hard floor until after communion is distributed to the faithful and the Tabernacle is closed.

I guess the thing with the acolytes lighting two additional candles on the altar is due to no torchbearers present.


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