Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Paschal Candle
Paschal Candle QUESTION from Joseph E. Jancuk May 28, 2001
What is the correct time of the Paschal Candle? I was taught, and the Catholic Encyclopedia seems to verify, that the Paschal Candle was used from the Easter Vigil through Ascension Thursday. In my dioceses there seems to be the practice of leaving the Paschal Candle out on the altar and light through Pentecost.
Thanks for your help!
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on June 2, 2001
Dear Mr. Jancuk,
It is correct to leave the paschal candle lit until Pentecost. In your parish, is it actually ON the altar, or do you mean BY (near) the altar? There is a difference. The following is from Paschales Solemnitatis, given in 1988 by the Congregation for Divine Worship.
99. The paschal candle has its proper place either by the ambo or by the altar and should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday, whether at Mass or at Morning and Evening Prayer. After the Easter season, the candle should be kept with honor in the baptistry, so that in the celebration of baptism, the candles of the baptized may be lit from them. In the celebration of funerals the paschal candle should be placed near the coffin to indicate that the death of a Christian is his own passover. The paschal candle should not otherwise be lit nor placed in the sanctuary outside the Easter season. It is part of the Tridentine rite that the paschal candle is lit until the Ascension, which was used at the time that the Catholic Encyclopedia was published, which I believe was sometime in the early 1900's.
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