Catholic Activity: Candlemas in the Home
Candlemas is the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord, traditionally the closing of the Christmas Cycle. This is another feast of light, and candles are blessed in a special ceremony on this day. Here are some ideas to celebrate this feast at home.
[Editor's Note: This feast is no longer referred to as the "Purification of Mary" but the "Presentation of our Lord." --JGM]
On the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Candle-mas), in many parishes, each member of the family takes his candle to the church to have it blessed. The candles are blessed before Mass, and there is usually a Candle-mas procession in the church. If there is an expected child or godchild, candles are blessed for them also.
At home on the evening of Candle-mas day a private procession may be held. Each person carries his own lighted candle, and all go through the house singing and praying, led by the father of the family. Before the procession through the rooms the father says the prayer:
Hear thy people, O Lord, we beseech Thee, and grant us to obtain those things inwardly by the light of grace, which Thou grantest us outwardly to venerate by this annual devotion.The candles which are blessed on this day may be used often, during days of sickness, sorrow, temptation; also on all feast days, anniversaries, etc., and when Holy Communion is brought to the sick.
In German homes on the evening of this feast, every member of the family lights his new candle during the recitation of the joyful mysteries of the Rosary before the crib. After the Rosary, the father cuts the branches from the Christmas tree, one for each child, and the children are able to eat the candy and nuts, etc. which were tied there.
When the religious feasts are celebrated in this way, i.e., procession in the home, etc., one may be sure that they will never bore the children — in fact, they will hardly be able to wait until the next one.
Activity Source: How to Make Your House a Home by Rev. Bernard Stokes, O.F.M., Family Life Bureau, Washington D.C., 1955