Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Paschal Candle

The paschal candle is a symbol of the Risen Christ which speaks very powerfully to children. In Church, the paschal candle is placed on its stand and blessed in the sanctuary during the Easter Vigil each year and it remains throughout the fifty days of the Easter season. The paschal candle is also present for baptisms and funerals, which I think is quite beautiful.

Isn't the paschal candle from our atrium lovely? It looks a bit different than the paschal candle which we have in Church so I thought I'd tell you about it.

Before we begin the Liturgy of Light Celebration in the atrium, we show the design of our Easter candle to the children, beginning with the cross in the center. We teach the children the names of the the two gold symbols on the candle - the alpha and the omega - which are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Together they remind us that God is the beginning and the end. We also place the numbers for the current year on the candle to remind us that God is present with us today. I love the words that we say with the children while they press the wax pieces onto the candle. Here they are for you to enjoy.

Christ, Yesterday and today (place the vertical piece of the cross)
The beginning and the end (place the horizontal piece of the cross)
The Alpha (place the A)
And the Omega (place the Ω)
All time belongs to God (place the 2)
And all the ages (place the 0)
To God be glory and power (place the 1)
Throughout every age forever (place the 1)

In the Good Shepherd Atrium children can prepare a paschal candle as we do in the celebration, using a candle and pieces made of felt. Often an adult or another child will repeat the words above as the child prepares the candle. It is always a popular work with the children in the weeks after the celebration. Children also like to draw pictures of the paschal candle throughout the Easter season.


  1. Leslie, I came over here to thank you for commenting on my blog. It's such a boost to have feedback from others doing similar work!

    While I'm here, I'll ask a question about this post: how different is this candle from your parish's paschal candle? I'd say it looks recognizably similar to the candle we use at the Easter Vigil... (where the priest uses the same words as you have here).

  2. Leslie, The felt candle that the children can make on their own is one of my favorite ideas yet! Also, do you have any tips on making figures with Sculpey? You've inspired me to try. There are a couple of GP stories that I could use figures for and the wooden ones are just way too expensive to buy. You can e-mail me at sheilaingermany(at)googlemail(dot)com.

  3. I love the idea of having additional materials for the paschal candle. Did you make the cards with the words on the computer? If so, could you share the file?

    1. Sorry to be slow responding! I cut up a handout I received in my catechesis class to make the cards, but the words are exactly what I have written above (minus the directions). On each card is a simple cross with the letter or word that is to be place highlighted. I'm sorry I don't have a file to share. Send me an email at if you would like a photo of the cards and I'll get you one! Thanks for reading and for commenting!


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