Q: At the Easter Vigil, since now all the lights in the church are turned on at the close of the procession, before the Exultet, is it acceptable for there to be no candles used by the faithful in the pews lighted from the Paschal candle? According to the Roman Missal, the candles are lighted after the second “The Light of Christ” and supposedly are extinguished as soon as the church lights are turned on — which happens even before all the assembly have their candles lighted. Is it permissible to not have the assembly lighting their candles — that just the Paschal Candle is lighted in the church?
A: No, the assembly should all hold lighted candles. Paragraph 22 of the Easter Vigil says that the people set aside their candles after the exsultet. The missal never explicitly says when the candles are extinguished, but logically it is after the exsultet. As I’ve explained in Glory in the Cross, turning on the lights of the church before singing the exsultet is not a new rubric. It’s been there ever since the Council, but it has been broadly ignored. The paschal candle brightens the entire church, even the electrical lights