Candles at the altar

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  We have a Funeral Outside of Mass at our parish this week and are unclear about whether the candles at the altar should be lit or not.  When should altar candles be lit?  The same question would  also apply to the Rite of Marriage Outside of Mass.   Are there any other liturgical prayers other than Mass when it would be appropriate to light the candles at the altar?


A:  I don’t know of any legislation on this, so you can probably use your good judgment. GIRM 307 says that candles at “different liturgical services” are a sign of “reverence or the festive character of the celebration.” With that, I think you could light them whenever they serve that purpose.

Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass references this number when it calls for lighted candles at a communion service (19).