Paschal Candle

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: As always, grateful appreciation for your continued ministry to all of us. You are such an inspiration!

So, here we are, 10 days before the Vigil and our Paschal Candle has not arrived.  Because of our location, it is not uncommon for shipments to take an enormous amount of time, but now I am nervous. Of course I have called the company and used the tracking, and another one to ship is costly for anyone.

With that said, I do have a back up plan if it does not arrive by April 8. We have an unused Paschal C. that had arrived cracked  a few years ago and was replaced by the company-hence it is unused. 
My question- if it becomes necessary to use the ‘cracked’ candle (that would somehow be temporarily fixed) at the Vigil, and the new candle arrives eventually- is there a proper ritual to exchange the candles-would that be appropriate? I fear the cracked candle may not last the entire year. 

Your thoughts on this are much appreciated.


A: Thanks for your comments on my work, Alexandria, and sorry to hear about your nail-biting candle delivery.

There is no provision for a candle that arrives late, but your backup plan is reasonable. If it happened to me, I’d probably use the cracked candle at the Vigil. Then, just for the sake of the symbol, during or right after the Vigil, I’d ask a sacristan to light the tabernacle candle with the newly blessed fire. When the new candle arrives, I’d go to the sacristy, follow the carving ritual from the beginning of the Easter Vigil, and light the candle from the preserved, blessed fire.

I can’t back that up with any liturgical rubrics, but it feels like a way to honor the various symbols in a situation that no one wants to face.