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Catholic Dictionary




A sacramental used in the Church's liturgy. Candles were first used to dispel darkness in predawn services and in the catacombs. They have since become part of the liturgy and their symbolism part of the Church's tradition. Candles are an emblem of God, the giver of life and enlightenment. Being pure, they represent Christ's spotless body, the flame a figure of the Divine Nature. Candles are blessed solemnly on the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin or Candlemas Day (February 2). Candles are required at the public administration of the sacraments, at Mass and Benediction, at funerals and at other church ceremonies.