Fr Richard introduced us to Candlemas of Presentation Sunday (the celebration of Mary’s Purification and the presentation of Jesus in the Temple.) Traditionally the parish priest to bless the church’s candles and gives votive candles to parishioners to take home with them for use in their family prayers throughout the year.
We were reminded of Simeon’s prayer (the “Nunc Dimittis” Luke 2: 29-32) where the faithful prophet recognised the Messianic importance of a young Jesus being brought to the Temple for presentation, describing him as “a light of revelation to the Gentiles and… the Glory of Israel.”
Fr Richard also quoted St Anselm (Archbishop of Canterbury 1033 -1109 AD) who encouraged the faithful on this special Sunday to reflect upon their own Church candles as an outward sign of the Christ who is our Light and who illumines our hearts, minds, and souls. He said, “The wax of the (blessed candles from this day) signifies the virginal flesh of the Divine Infant, the wick, His Soul, and the flame His Divinity”.
St Matt’s also offers a candle prayer ministry, and it can be used all throughout the year! Parishioners and visitors are welcome to light a candle at the prayer table at the front entrance of the Church at services (or whenever the church is open.) All are invited to bring to God that which is uppermost upon their hearts – often you may be praying specifically for somebody in need, or perhaps yourself.
There is also a card that you can take to give to those for whom you prayed to let them know that they are not alone, and Fr Richard and our Pastoral Care team are always available to assist.
A related ministry, our Memorial Book, is kept on the prayer table to keep a record of those faithful parishioners who have gone before us …and as a prompt for prayer. Let us know if you have a loved one you would wish to add to our Memorial Book. Feel free to stay a while in the Memorial Garden at the back of the church outside the sanctuary.
Why not say a prayer and light a candle for someone (or yourself) after communion when next you come?
Let Fr Richard or Randal know if you would wish to discover more about our Candle or Memorial ministries.