Where do your old Paschal Candles go after Easter?

Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.

Moderators: Dom Perignon, Casimir

User avatar
sidvicius
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2004 12:12 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Where do your old Paschal Candles go after Easter?

Post by sidvicius »

OK I haven't checked with the usual authorities yet, but I can just imagine there'll be some 'obscure' (me read: daft) liturgical reason why a Paschal candle can NEVER be used for any other purpose, but I know a church near me that has a stack of these blighters backed up to yr2000 with hardly a dent in the fender. Fatties too, none of your slim sloane rangers here.

These things aren't cheap - what, £40 a pop? PLEASE don't tell me they can't be recycled as altar candles (we go through those like a dose of salts, they aren't cheap either), or re-used next year (is that why they're date-stamped?), or something? Sawn up, I could make three chunky altar candles out of each one and they'd last all year on standard sunday usage.

Eco-warriors, back me up here. I'm not a great fan of candles anyway, smoky, messy things. Special purpose candles seem like a licence to print money.

docmattc
Posts: 987
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 11:42 am
Parish / Diocese: Westminster
Location: Near Cambridge

Post by docmattc »

After Easter, the Paschal Candle should go next to the baptismal font and be lit for baptisms and funerals all year.
After that, while it certainly shouldn't be reused as next year's Paschal Candle, some places melt them down and use them for baptismal candles so I don't see why they can't be recycled as altar candles.
Diocese of San Jose seem to think this is OK
http://dsjliturgy.blogspot.com/2005/03/disposing-of-old-paschal-candles.html
though I'm not convinced about burning it in next year's easter fire.

User avatar
sidvicius
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2004 12:12 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Post by sidvicius »

Thanks for that Doc. Have to say I don't find the San José article very convincing - it seems to explain what they do but there's little evidence that it's 'the right thing to do'. I find their reasoning a little weak to say the least, but hopefully it will add to the debate here. I think burying it is as useful as burying one's head in the sand and hoping the problem will somehow 'go away'. Ordinary cold paraffin wax is a relatively inert substance but there are better alternatives. I think it's important these days that we go the extra yard to ensure that candles are sourced to reputable origins before purchase. I've seen our votive holders being replenished with poor quality cheapies from B&Q - is this good enough? I don't think so.

We do use Paschal candles in the normal way after easter, but in a church infrequently used generally, this doesn't reduce 'the pillar' very far.

User avatar
VML
Posts: 717
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:57 am
Parish / Diocese: Clifton Diocese
Location: Glos

Post by VML »

Both our parish here and the one in which I grew up reuse the paschal candle until it is pretty short.
The transfers are available to change the date each year, and I remember this being done right back since the 1960s. More to the point, one of my father's regular contributions for many years, was refurbishing the paschal candles for his own and the sub-parish. He'll be 90 in 6 weeks.. Now he just arranges the readers for daily Mass.

docmattc
Posts: 987
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 11:42 am
Parish / Diocese: Westminster
Location: Near Cambridge

Post by docmattc »

Celebrating the Mass says:
A Paschal candle from a previous year should not be re-used. Remnants of previous year’s Paschal candles might be melted down to make baptismal candles.

I think reusing the candle each year until its burnt down removes the symbolism of the newness of Easter. All of our altar candles etc are new ones for the Easter vigil (although the people's candles do get trotted out every year and they're dirty, warped and burnt down, a source of irritation for me but not my place to say anything).

You're right about the source Sid, and also the type of candle. I'm not sure oil inserts inside a fake candle really do the job. And I know of a church which has electric votive candles- put your money in the slot and a bulb comes on for half an hour! This misses the point of the candle's symbolism completely (as does the electric santuary lamp!)

User avatar
sidvicius
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2004 12:12 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Post by sidvicius »

What VML said sounds pretty sensible to me - you can re-cut the top to tidy it up if necessary. Naturally I wouldn't consider using anything too stumpy.

A Paschal candle from a previous year should not be re-used.
This is the sort of statement that really bugs me - no explanation is given, just 'don't do it'. Why not?

Maybe I've got my 'practical' marigolds on, but like I said I'm really no great fan of candles, orrible smoky, messy fire hazards - have you ever had to clean the votive candle holder? - absolutely disgusting job! Some people DON'T put coins in the slot for votive candles; I'm sure they would if they really wanted to see their 'little light shine'.

Still, I'm glad we agree on the sourcing - I think we would find that most paraffin-based candles were the product of Oil refineries, and then how clean would our hands be? At the very least, we should endeavour to find palm oil or Beeswax candles, much more in keeping with liturgical sentiments, I should think.

docmattc
Posts: 987
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 11:42 am
Parish / Diocese: Westminster
Location: Near Cambridge

Post by docmattc »

sidvicius wrote:This is the sort of statement that really bugs me - no explanation is given, just 'don't do it'. Why not?

Is it not because of the symbolism of _new_ life? Rather than 'this tired old thing that's now a bit off colour and slightly warped' (Which, by co-incidence describes me perfectly)

Much is made of blessing the _new_ fire, can one light an old candle from a new fire? (To misquote Mt 9:17)


sidvicius wrote:At the very least, we should endeavour to find palm oil or Beeswax candles, much more in keeping with liturgical sentiments, I should think.

And carbon neutral too! :lol: Not sure how ethical palm oil is- aren't huge swathes of Indonesian forest being cut down for plantations?

User avatar
sidvicius
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2004 12:12 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Post by sidvicius »

I expect it is just that "new life", but they don't say that - this is what bugs me.

The 'new' fire is usually made from lumps of 'old' wood - go figure. I have seen this granular stuff used which produces a rather elegant blue flame - it's specifically for indoor use as recommended by the local fire safety inspector - no more having to freeze outside while cars drive by.

I don't think any candle can be carbon neutral - it's just a lump of hydrocarbons and various volatile organics depending on its origin. It burns to produce water vapour (technically a 'greenhouse gas') and carbon dioxide, which isn't good, also particulate soot/smoke, bad in many ways.

Not sure about palm oil, but again that's where accurate sourcing needs to be employed. Beeswax is supposed to be the creme of candlewaxes and is certainly produced via relatively sustainable methods! They would be my candle of choice given the alternatives, but really I feel we need a re-appraisal on the significance of votive and other candles used in church.

User avatar
SOP
Posts: 261
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2004 10:31 am
Parish / Diocese: Salford

Post by SOP »

We won't have that problem at Easter as some kind soul stole the Paschal candle a few weeks back. There is now another large candle doing the job but it isn't the Paschal candle so that can easily be used elsewhere after Easter.

nazard
Posts: 555
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:08 am
Parish / Diocese: Clifton
Location: Muddiest Somerset

Post by nazard »

Whatever you do, don't do what our last pp did. He trimmed off the artwork, cut the candle in half and balanced each half on a tiny saucer and used them as altar candles. After a week or so the inevitable happened and a candle fell onto the altar, spilling a mix of wax and soot across the altar cloths and missal and doing far more damage than the saving in candles was worth. Ever since then old paschal candles in our parish mysteriously disappear early in Holy Week and no one ever asks where.

Deke
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:50 pm

Post by Deke »

Greetings everyone. I've been lurking on this site for about 3 years and finally have the courage to join and reply to a post.

Our Pascal candle is presented to our local HCPT Pilgrimage Trust Group after the Mass of the Lord's Supper and they present the parish with the new candle. The group take the candle to Lourdes on Easter Sunday and each year the names of those who have died in the parish in the previous 12 months are stuck on the candle, the children add decorations and then take it to the Grotto to burn away with all the other candles. It's become a tradition over the last 30 years.

On the same subject we seem to have picked a duff one this year. At about June it gave an outstanding impression of a Roman candle and exploded during a baptism. I guess you only get what you pay for!

User avatar
musicus
Moderator
Posts: 1605
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2003 8:47 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Post by musicus »

Welcome, Deke! It is good to hear from you.
musicus - moderator, Liturgy Matters
blog

docmattc
Posts: 987
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 11:42 am
Parish / Diocese: Westminster
Location: Near Cambridge

Post by docmattc »

Deke wrote:
Our Pascal candle is presented to our local HCPT Pilgrimage Trust Group after the Mass of the Lord's Supper and they present the parish with the new candle. The group take the candle to Lourdes on Easter Sunday and each year the names of those who have died in the parish in the previous 12 months are stuck on the candle, the children add decorations and then take it to the Grotto to burn away with all the other candles.


Hi Deke, that's a really nice idea.

Deke wrote:On the same subject we seem to have picked a duff one this year. At about June it gave an outstanding impression of a Roman candle and exploded during a baptism.


That sounds exactly like one we had when I was at university. It spewed forth lots of flame and melted about a foot of wax in around 10 mins. As it was 10foot off the floor no one could get through the wax waterfall to put it out. It did its tongues of fire impression during the Pentecost Vigil, which really convinced people the Spirit had come!
The Spirit however didn't hang around to get the wax out of the carpet :cry:

User avatar
Gwyn
Posts: 1145
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2003 3:42 pm
Parish / Diocese: Archdiocese of Cardiff
Location: Abertillery, South Wales UK

Croeso

Post by Gwyn »

Hi Deke, welcome to the melting pot.

From darkest Abergavenny.

User avatar
sidvicius
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2004 12:12 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Where do your old Paschal Candles go after Easter?

Post by sidvicius »

Epiphany is almost over, and with it goes the Christmas season. During this time, our Advent Candles have been either burned to a stump (Advent #1) or barely dented (Advent 4) and points in between (2 & 3). The Central 'Christ candle' has burned merrily since then, on its own. Don't know what happens to these either, as their purpleness appears to preclude their use for altars etc. Don't even start me on the 'pinky' - and now I hear they're introducing a 'bluey', for goodness sake :evil: It's a plot - the Vatican in league with the PPC - that's the Purveyors of Purple Candles, yikes.

Overlooking this wreath, our remaining half an easter candle has loomed, unlit and unloved. Another suggestion: I wondered if this could be used as the central Christ candle as opposed to what we used, which looks like a standard altar candle?

Nice idea from Deke above, assuming you've got a parish pilgrimage you could take it on.

Post Reply