Any Catholics? Gotta question...

  1. Ok, I was in the grocery store today and noticed the candles in the "ethnic" foods section. you know the long ones in glass with pictures of Jesus, various saints and Mary on them? I am just curious (As I keep recieving gifts of them with the child of Atocha (patron saint of travelers) on them. What exactly is the proper use of such candles- what do they symbolize? and how are they used. I am sort of embarrased that I don't know, but I am really not Catholic!!! Thank you !!!!!!!
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    About MPHkatie

    Joined: Apr '02; Posts: 255; Likes: 6


  3. by   Jenny P
    MPHkatie,I know the candles you are speaking of, and they really have no significance in the Roman Catholic faith. I have seen those candles in the ethnic foods section at the grocery store also, and they usually seem to be in or near the Latino/Mexican foods in our stores here.

    Inside the older Catholic Church buildings, they used to have a side altar with candles that you'd (pay for and) light when you would pray for a special intention (such as a sick friend, etc.). I have always understood that these were more or less visible reminders to yourself about your special intentions (remember, Catholics can go to Mass every day of the week, so these candles usually would last for a couple of days). I could be wrong, though, so will check on it.
  4. by   MPHkatie
    Thanks Jenny,
    the ones I have gottne as gifts have a prayer on the back which ends with Haga su peticion, in english, make your petition now.... Maybe they are more of a latino thing than a Catholic thing? I appreciate the info. I feel like I have a little shrine in my home, but I don't know what to do with it!!!!
  5. by   Glad2behere
    They are for prayer, when the candle is lit ( it must be blessed by a priest) before lighting, as lonf as the candle burns, your prayer is being forwarded to God. Usually and often, a saint is asked to intercede and help with the prayer (pray to for Example : St Francis of Assissi) to insure that you are heard, and that your prayer is continuous.

    My mother is a very devout Catholic, I am also, not quite as devout, but I am always absolutely astounded how her prayers are answered.

    Example: My older sister's husband was out in the oil field 100 mi west of San Angelo Texas, by himself and had a stroke..only 47 yo at the time. Took 3 hours to realize he was missing, in his parlyzed state he could only touch on his mobile, and then could not talk coherently or hold the phone, laying in the hot west Texas sun next to his pickup. He kept hitting redial, and the last person he had talked to was his mother. Took another 3 hours to find him by helicopter., Careflighted in and unconscious.

    We were told he wouldn't make it through the night. My mother had lit 3 candles in prayer to The Holy Trinity upon her and my dad's departure 400 mi away.

    He made it through the night, 2 days later had intensive neuro-surgery that lasted 13 hours! Candles were also lit at the local Catholic church in San Angelo.

    He makes it through and responds to nothing for a week, and neuro assessments are dismal. More candles.

    He finally pulls through but has no neurological on left side...then has an MI!

    Goes through a bypass surgery...More Candles.

    3 weeks later in ICU he starts spiking a temp...source cannot be found. Finally has exploratory chest surgery done and L lower lung has a huge abcess. More Candles.

    This man recovered, has some disabilty on his left side, but can walk and chew gum, even though he does have to make sure the L leg is planted before applying weight, drives, and rides horses regularly. has a raspy voice because of the necrosis and scarring caused by such a long intubation period, but he loves Candles..
    Has one in his pickup for him and his dog.

  6. by   NurseDennie
    It's a symbolism thing. The light symbolizes THE light and the smoke goes up to heaven and it symbolizes the way our prayers go up to heaven.

    That's the way it was explained to me as a little girl. BTW, C of E (Episcopal, in the States) also have the same custom. I know they do in the big churches like cathedrals, but I've seen some local parishes that don't have candles.


  7. by   MPHkatie
    I think i understand a bit better now. I was raised in a Quaker environment, so candles, and items of worship are always a bit confusing to me, but also fascinating!!!!
  8. by   Mkue
    my mom still "lights" candles at the alter! we don't usually light the saint candles at home.