Feature of the Week: Candlemas and the Catholic Home


Recommendation to families the wonderful book published by our American bishops in the last few years entitled Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers (revised edition August 2007).  On page 134-136 for February 2nd you will find the following:

Receiving Blessed Candles at Home

On February 2nd, forty days after Christmas, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (see Lk 2:22-40).  Because it echoes the Christmas festival, this day is a celebration of light in darkness.  Its Gospel tells of the old man Simeon’s calling the infant Jesus a “light to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.” 

For centuries, the Church has blessed candles on this day.  Because of its simplicity and beauty, candles are used when the Church gathers for prayer, both in public places and in the home.  Candles blessed at the Mass for this feast day may be brought into the home. . .  These candles are lighted at ordinary times (at dinner, for example) and at special times such as during the Anointing of the Sick, or when Holy Communion is brought to a member of the family. 

All make the sign of the cross.  The leader begins:

V.  Jesus Christ is the Light of the World,

A light no darkness can overpower.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

R.  Now and forever.

The leader may use these or similar words to introduce the prayer:

These candles bring beauty and light to our home.  In the darkness, they tell us of God’s gift of light and of Christ, whose light we received at Baptism.  As we bring these blessed candles into our home, we are reminded of our call to be the Light of the world.

Then the Scripture is read:  Luke 2:25, 27-32.

There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.  This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. . . He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory for your people Israel.”

After a time of silence, all hold lighted candles, (or just those brought from Church are lighted), as the leader continues:

Let us pray.

God of night and of day,

we praise you for the brightness of our sun,

for the softer light of the moon,

and the splendor of the stars,

for the fires of earth that brings us light and warmth

even as they imperil all who use them.

By the great and small lights we mark our days and seasons,

we brighten the night and bring warmth to our winter,

and in these lights we see light:

Jesus, whose light we receive in Baptism,

whose light we carry by day and by night.

In the beauty of these candles,

keep us in quiet and in peace,

keep us safe and turn our hearts to you

that we may ourselves be light for our world.

All praise be yours through Christ,

the light of nations,

The glory of Israel,

forever and ever.

R. Amen

V.  Let us bless the Lord.

R.  Thanks be to God.

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