Lighting a candle in church....silly question

:o Hi, Can someone give me a little history on lighting a candle in church please?? Are you supposed to light a candle only for those who have died? Thank you for your time.

[quote=Jkaim]:o Hi, Can someone give me a little history on lighting a candle in church please?? Are you supposed to light a candle only for those who have died? Thank you for your time.
[/quote]

It’s my understanding that you an light them for any intention you have.:slight_smile:

I don’t know the history of it, but it’s a pretty old custom. You can light a candle for any prayer intention. It’s just a reminder of your prayer intention–a kind of visible sign that your prayer is always present to the Lord.

Thank you for the information. :slight_smile:

[quote=Jkaim]:o Hi, Can someone give me a little history on lighting a candle in church please?? Are you supposed to light a candle only for those who have died? Thank you for your time.
[/quote]

This is from the candles page on New Advent Encyclopedia:

Candles were, and are, commonly used to burn before shrines towards which the faithful wish to show special devotion. The candle burning its life out before a statue is no doubt felt in some ill-defined way to be symbolical of prayer and sacrifice. A curious medieval practice was that of offering at any favoured shrine a candle or a number of candes equalling in measurement the height of the persons for whom some favour was asked. This was called “measuring to” such or such a saint. The practice can be traced back to the time of St. Radegund (d.587) and later right through the Middle Ages. It was especially common in England and the North of France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. For many other uses of candles, e.g. in the service of Tenebrae, in the hands of the dying, at First Communion, etc., the reader must be referred to the respective articles.

newadvent.org/cathen/03246a.htm

The parish I go to has a shrine to St. Ann. When I have prayer intentions, I usually go there and light a candle. If it is an intention for myself, I usually use one of the smallones that burns for only a couple of hours. It it is for others, I usually light one of the larger ones that burn for at least a day. I lit larger ones for Pope John Paul II and Terri for the repose of their souls

PF

When the normal events of the day occupy our thoughts and deeds, the lit candle serves as a constant beckon to heaven of our prayer intention.

I believe I’ve also heard somewhere that the smoke from the candles is supposed to symbolize prayers raising up to Heaven.

Not sure of the reason, but I’ve lit many a candle in church. I figure it can’t hurt!

Peace.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.