Extinguishing the Pascal Candle

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: We have been celebrating Sunday Vespers in my home parish since Divine Mercy Sunday, and it is a lovely ministry that is slowly growing. 

We have a period of adoration, then vespers, and then benediction (if clergy is present). Is the paschal candle extinguished at the conclusion of evening prayer this Sunday signaling the end of the Easter Season?

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A: First congratulations on successfully bringing Sunday vespers to your home parish this Easter.

The missal says this in its last rubrics for Pentecost: With Easter Time now concluded, the paschal candle is extinguished. It is desirable to keep the paschal candle in the baptistery with due honor so that it is lit at the celebration of Baptism and the candles of those baptized are lit from it.

This note seems to be more practical than ceremonial. But it’s fine if people wish to witness it. 

The rubric clearly is based on the preconciliar one. At the conclusion of the gospel on Ascension Thursday, the preconciliar rubric read, “With the Gospel having been proclaimed, the paschal candle is extinguished.” The revised missal moved the rubric from the middle of the Ascension Mass to the conclusion of the Pentecost Mass, and changed its introductory ablative absolute. Since everyone witnessed the extinguishing of the candle during Mass in the past, I see no reason why a group could not witness it at the end of vespers in the present.