Another Candlemas Ceremonial Question - EF
  • madorganist
    Posts: 560
    My normal reference for choir ceremonial is Terry's Catholic Church Music. For Candlemas, he says both of the following:
    The Choirmaster will so arrange his music as to allow the choir members to receive their candles.
    Choir takes its appointed place in procession. No member of the Choir will carry a candle.
    It seems odd to make provision for the choir to receive blessed candles if they will not carry them in the procession. Is it obligatory for the choir to receive candles? It would make our lives a little easier if they could sing continuously during the distribution of candles. My pastor and MC don't seem to have strong opinions on the matter, so I seek the advice of my colleagues!
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,615
    We always receive candles, the choir members seem to be able to carry a candle and Liber... I have several books that have wax on the Candlemas pages! (Not from me!) So other choir do the same.

    I usually fit the card cutout that is usually placed around the candle into the pages of the book (Liber / Graduale) it is held quite well and does not want to fall out.
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • Even if you aren’t carrying it in profession, you’re still receiving a sacramental to take home with you to use. Blessed candles, especially those blessed at Candlemas using the special blessing are very powerful sacramental that drive demons away from wherever the flame is. (Same with consecrated bells, btw. Real bells, that is. Wherever the sound waves are) Our choir doesn’t receive candles and doesn’t walk in procession. We just remain in the choir loft.
  • madorganist
    Posts: 560
    Even if you aren’t carrying it in profession, you’re still receiving a sacramental to take home with you to use.
    Maybe at your place. Here, the faithful bring their own candles to be placed in the sanctuary and blessed. The candles actually carried in the procession stay at the church and are used again at Easter and Christmas.
  • As with other comparable ceremonies (Distribution of Ashes, Distribution of Palms, Adoration of the Cross), I generally make provisions for the choir to take part. My thought is that the choir should not be "penalized" by being prevented in participating liturgically from receiving the blessed candle, the ashes, the palms, etc., simply because they are contributing liturgically by being part of the choir.

    There are some caveats. Most of the time, what we sing is chant for these ceremonies. This means that in a worst-case scenario (all the choir goes down), I can cover the chant. I've told the choir that at some point, if we do polyphonic music for the liturgical ceremony, I may ask them to forgo that particular ceremony... but that hasn't been a problem so far. The other caveat is that they do not sing if they are out of the loft.

    So far, that has worked well. My impression is that those who were previously in choirs where they weren't allowed to take part enjoy the ability to do so. I am either alone or with 1-2 others while the rest of the group goes down. The choir starts singing when they return to the loft.

    For the procession, ours (for Candlemas) have always been indoors and the choir simply sings from the loft during the procession - we do not form part of it. However, if we did (as we do in the procession of Palms), I wouldn't see carrying candles as inhibiting. I also wonder if the perspective is simply a choice by this author rather than an actual precept.

    I used to do have to manage candles and other things a long, long, ago when I was in the seminary. Once, during a hurricane, we sang the office in the downstairs chapel with candles. Quite challenging managing the biretta, the candle, the Liber all at the same time!! But it can be done.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • I generally make provisions for the choir to take part. My thought is that the choir should not be "penalized" by being prevented in participating liturgically from receiving the blessed candle, the ashes, the palms, etc., simply because they are contributing liturgically by being part of the choir.


    How do you make provisions? We never receive Blessed palms, or candles, and last year was the first year the choir actually got to go down and venerate the crucifix on Good Friday. Prior to that we were told we were doing our venerating by singing the reproaches. I usually don’t make a big deal out of these things, though.

    As for managing candles while singing, just because it can be done, doesn’t mean it should. We had a younger choir member start a fire last Easter vigil during the Kyrie (they cheaped out on tapers that burned down too fast and the cardboard wax drip protector caught fire). Our choir director worked at putting it out (she panicked and through it on the carpeted floor) while still directing. Didn’t even miss a beat.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,615
    We split the choir, 2 sets of Cantors, while one choir gets their Palms, venerates the Crucifix, relic, etc., the other is singing. I think at least some of the books (EF) we have the directions suggest that this should be done.
  • How do you make provisions?


    I ensure the singing is covered (myself or a small group who aren't planning on going down) and I send the choir down to receive, venerate, etc., first. As they return, they join in the singing.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,972
    cheap…tapers
    I'm reminded of my first Christmas rehearsal at SF's Church of the Advent: "Our goal for the procession this year is for no one's hair to be set alight". I survived with only a few wax burns on my wrist.