Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fitting rite for Candlemas

The Presentation of our Lord and the Purification of Mary falls on a Sunday this year, so it is fitting to include the traditional Blessing of the Candles....hence the name Candlemas for February 2.

In the Latin Rite inherited by Lutherans there are five prayers for this rite, incense burning, and sprinkling with holy water. Some of the prayers are less than Evangelical - drawing upon the invocation of the saints, for instance; and five collects for blessing the candles displays the Latin Rite's tendency towards excessive growth. Most of our parishes do not use incense on a regular basis. And we don't believe in "sacramentals" like holy water that lack the promise of God: rather, everything is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.

Therefore, the rite in our parishes will, of course, be somewhat different. Here is a short form, to be conducted before the Invocation from the entrance of the church, that includes one of the (very good) traditional prayers from the Latin Rite.

The Blessing of the Candles

Pastor: The Lord be with you.
People: And with thy spirit.

Pastor: Let us pray. Lord Jesus Christ, true light that enlightens every man who comes into this world, bestow thy blessing + upon these candles, and sanctify + them with the light of thy grace. As these tapers burn with visible fire and dispel the darkness of night, so may our hearts with the help of thy grace be enlightened by the invisible fire of the splendor of the Holy Ghost, and may be free from all blindness of sin. Clarify the eyes of our minds that we may see what is pleasing to thee and conducive to our salvation. After the dark perils of this life let us be worthy to reach the eternal light through thee, Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, who in perfect Trinity livest and reignest, God, for ever and ever. Amen.



  1. At our parish we also bless and light hand candles, following which everyone comes forward to reverence with candle lit. Later, from the Preface through the Agnus Dei, the hand-candles are re-lit. Although I have no references at the moment, I believe this is consistent with the Western Rite.

  2. Dear Frs.
    We do have a thurable here and use it manely at funerals. At what point in the liturgy for candlemas does the rubrics address the thurables use?

    1. Right after the prayers before the service the incense is lit in the thurible and the candles incensed.


  3. Last year I wrote a newsletter article—in popular style—to introduce this holy day to my mission parish:


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