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Catholic Prayer: Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: Blessing of Candles and Propers of the Mass for the Feast of the Presentation, Ordinary Form


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This feast was originally celebrated in the Eastern Churches as "The Meeting" or "Encountering" (Hypapante), in the Church mankind meets the Lord. By the sixth century it began to be celebrated in the West, where the focus became the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and was accompanied by solemn blessings and processions with candles; hence, it is popularly called "Candlemas." By the offerings of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph and the prophecy of St. Simeon, the life of Christ here begins to point toward his Resurrection.

The following is the The blessing of candles, procession and Mass propers for Candlemas or the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Third Roman Missal.


Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

The Blessing of Candles and the Procession

First Form: The Procession

At an appropriate hour, a gathering takes place at a small church or other suitable place other than inside the church to which the procession will go. The faithful hold in their hands unlighted candles.

The Priest, wearing white vestments as for Mass, approaches the ministers. Instead of the chasuble, the Priest may wear a cope, which he leaves aside after the procession is over.

While the candles are being lit, the following antiphon or another appropriate chant is sung.

Behold, our Lord will come with power,
to enlighten the eyes of his servants, alleluia.


Ecce Dominus noster cum virtute veniet,
ut illuminet oculos servorum suorum, alleluia.

When the chant is concluded, the Priest, facing the people, says:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Then the Priest greets the people in the usual way, and next he gives an introductory address, encouraging the faithful to celebrate the rite of this feast day actively and consciously. He may use these or similar words:

Dear brethren (brothers and sisters),
forty days have passed since we celebrated the joyful feast
of the Nativity of the Lord.
Today is the blessed day
when Jesus was presented in the Temple by Mary and Joseph.
Outwardly he was fulfilling the Law,
but in relation he was coming to meet his believing people.
Prompted by the Holy Spirit,
Simeon and Anna came to the Temple.
Enlightened by the same Spirit,
they recognized the Lord
and confessed him with exultation.
So let us also, gathered together by the Holy Spirit,
proceed to the house of God to encounter Christ.
There we shall find him
and recognize him in the breaking of the bread,
until he comes again, revealed in glory.

After the address the Priest blesses the candles, saying, with hands extended:

Let us pray.
O God, source and origin of all light,
who on this day showed to the just man Simeon
the Light for revelation to the Gentiles,
we humbly ask that,
in answer to your people's prayers,
you may be pleased to sanctify with your blessing + these candles,
which we are eager to carry in praise of your name,
so that, treading the path of virtue,
we may reach that light which never fails.
Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.


O God, true light, who create light eternal,
spreading it far and wide,
pour, we pray, into the hearts of the faithful
the brilliance of perpetual light,
so that all who are brightened in your holy temple
by the splendor of these candles
may happily reach the light of your glory.
Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

He sprinkles the candles with holy water without saying anything, and puts incense into the thurible for the procession.

Then the Priest receives from the Deacon or a minister the lighted candle prepared for him and the procession begins, with the Deacon announcing (or, if there is no Deacon, the Priest himself):

Let us go in peace to meet the Lord.


Let us go forth in peace.

In this case, all respond:

R. In the name of Christ. Amen.

All carry lighted candles. As the procession moves forward, one or other of the Antiphons that follow is sung, namely the antiphon A light for revelation with the canticle (Luke 2:29032), or the Antiphon Sion, adorn your bridal chamber or another appropriate chant.


Ant. A light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace, in accordance with your word.

Ant. A light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.
For my eyes have seen your salvation.

Ant. A light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.
Which you have prepared in the sight of all peoples.

Ant. A light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.


Ant. Sion, adorn your bridal chamber and welcome Christ the King; take Mary in your arms, who is the gate of heaven, for she herself is carrying the King of glory and new light. A Virgin she remains, though bringing in her hands the Son before the morning star begotten, whom Simeon, taking in his arms announced to the peoples as Lord of life and death and Savior of the world.

As the procession enters the church, the Entrance Antiphon of the Mass is sung. When the Priest has arrived at the altar, he venerates it and, if appropriate, incenses it. Then he goes to the chair, where he takes off the cope, if he used it in the procession, and puts on a chasuble. After the singing of the hymn Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest), he says the Collect as usual. The Mass continues in the usual manner.

Second Form: The Solemn Entrance

Whenever a procession cannot take place, the faithful gather in church, holding candles in their hands. The Priest, wearing white sacred vestments as for Mass, together with the ministers and a representative group of the faithful, goes to a suitable place, either in front of the church door or inside the church itself, where at least a large part of the faithful can conveniently participate in the rite.

When the Priest reaches the place appointed for the blessing of the candles, candles are lit while the antiphon Behold, our Lord or another appropriate chant is sung.

Then, after the greeting and address, the Priest blesses the candles, as above; and then the procession to the altar takes place, with singing. For Mass, what is indicated above is observed.


Entrance Antiphon Your merciful love, O God, we have received in the midst of your temple. Your praise, O God, like your name, reaches the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with saving justice. (CF. Ps 48 (47) 10-11)

Collect: Almighty ever-living God,
we humbly implore your majesty
that, just as your Only Begotten Son
was presented on this day in the Temple
in the substance of our flesh,
so, by your grace,
we may be presented to you with minds made pure.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

First Reading Malachi 3:1-4.

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 24

Second Reading Hebrews 2:14-18

Alleluia A light of revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.

Gospel Luke 2:22-40

Prayer Over the Offerings May the offering made
with exultation by your Church
for you willed that your Only Begotten Son
be offered to you for the life of the world
as the Lamb without blemish.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Preface: The Mystery of the Presentation of the Lord
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks.
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
For your co-eternal Son was presented on this day in the Temple
and revealed by the Spirit.
as the glory of Israel and Light of the nations.
And so, we, too, go forth, rejoicing to encounter your Salvation,
and with the Angels and Saints
praise you, as without end we acclaim: Holy...

Communion Antiphon My eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples.

Prayer after Communion By these holy gifts which we have received, O Lord,
bring your grace to perfection within us,
and, as you fulfilled Simeon's expectation
That he would not see death
until he had been privileged to welcome the Christ,
so may we, going forth to meet the Lord,
obtain the gift of eternal life.
Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.