Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas. Forty days after Christmas the feast has come to be a celebration of light in darkness. Traditionally candles are blessed on this day. The Church then encourages people to bring them home for use during our domestic prayer and liturgy, such as at meals or when a member of the family is given the annointing of the sick, or when communion is brought into the home. They would be appropriate to use during domestic celebrations of the Office or other domestic prayer times as well.

In the U.S. the bishops have published a book of blessings entitled _Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers_ . In that volume is provided a service to be celebrated when the candles blessed and Candlemas are received into the home.

All make the sign of the cross, The leader begins:

Jesus Christ is the light of the world,
a light no darkness can overpower.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.

All respond:
Now and for ever.

The leader may use these or similar words
to introduce the blessing:

These candles bring beauty and light into our home.
In the darkness, they tell us of God's gift of light
and of Christ, whose light we received at baptism.

Then the Scripture is read:

Listen to the words of the holy gospel
according to Luke: (Luke 2:25, 27-32)

The reader concludes:
This is the gospel of the Lord.

All respond:
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

After a time of silence, all hold the lighted candles
as the leader begins:

Let us pray.

God of night and day,
we praise you for the brightness of our sun,
for the softer light of the moon
and the splendor of the stars,
for the fires that bring us light and warmth.
even as they imperil all who use them.
By the great and small lights we mark our days and seasons,
we brighten the night and bring warmth to our winter,
and in these lights we see light:
Jesus, whose light we receive in baptism,
whose light we carry by day and by night.

In the beauty of these candles,
keep us in quiet and in peace,
keep us safe and turn our hearts to you
that we may ourselves be light for our world.

All praise be yours through Christ,
the light of the nations,
the glory of Israel,
for ever and ever.

R. Amen.

The leader says:
Let us bless the Lord.

All respond, making the sign of the cross:
Thanks be to God.

The service concludes with a song.


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