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CATHOLIC CHURCH OF MARY
MOTHER OF GOD, PONDERS END (WESTMINSTER DIOCESE)

Paschal Candle

Pascal Candle The Paschal candle is a large, white candle used at the liturgy. A new Paschal candle is blessed and lit every year at Easter, and is used throughout the Paschal season which is during Easter and then throughout the year on special occasions, such as baptisms and funerals.

The flame of the Paschal candle symbolises Christ as light of the world and his presence in the midst of his people. The Paschal candle is sometimes referred to as the "Easter candle" or the "Christ candle." The term "Paschal" comes from the word Pesach, which in Hebrew means Passover. The tall white candle in many ways signifies the Divine pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that lead the Israelites in their Exodus from slavery in Egypt.

A Paschal candle it is the largest candle in the worship space. In most cases today the candle will display several common symbols:

1. The cross is always the central symbol, most clearly identifying it as the Paschal candle
2. The Greek letters alpha and omega signify that God is the beginning and the end (taken from the Book of Revelation)
3. The current year represents God's presence here and now in the midst of the gathered worshipers
4. Five grains of incense (most often red) are embedded in the candle (sometimes encased in wax "nails") during the Easter Vigil to represent the five wounds of Jesus: one in each hand, one in each foot, and the spear thrust into his side.

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