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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. Why do Catholics burn candles?

A. 1. There are a number of reasons why Catholics burned candles in the history of the Church. Some of them are:

A. 1.1 The burning of candles is the traditional practice of the Catholic Church during the administration of the Liturgy (such as the Mass and the Sacraments) to indicate the special solemnity of the occasion.

A. 1.2 In the early days of the Church, candles were lit so the faith community could worship in the dark at the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs.

A. 1.3 When lighting a candle before a statue or a holy picture, it is in order to obtain a favour from the person who's statue or picture it represents, the burning candle being a continuing prayer to Jesus, Mary or the Saints. Because the light continually burns as a silent vigil, it became to be known as a vigil light. The word vigil means "watchfulness."

Some Catholics, when they see a lit votive candle in the Church, they believe that they are called to pray for the intention(s) of the person who lit the candles.

A. 1.4 Candle burning also shows solidarity with the person on whose's behalf the prayer is offered. These candles are seen burning where there are tragic accidents such as a car accident or a fire that took lives, before the home of a child that has been murdered, and similar situations.

A. 1.5 In some homes, Catholics light up a candle while praying. In some cases, it is during the recitation of the Holy Rosary. In other cases, the candles burn on a table that has been set aside in a quiet room as a place of worship. On this table, you normally find Holy pictures, statues of Jesus, Mary and the Saints, sacramentals, prayer books and similar objects.

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