Hand-Painted Easter Candle… and other photos

Be sure to take a glance at the photos of the Easter Vigil in the exceedingly beautiful (and yet unfinished!) Westminster Cathedral, London, where the liturgy daily is celebrated with reverence and beauty, and especially on the greater feasts. Perhaps you can spot me in a few of the photos.

You can view the photos by clicking here for their Flickr gallery.

Here is some detail from one that I wish to highlight, showing the beautiful Easter candle that Cardinal Nichols blessed for the Vigil and for continued use during the coming year. Comments follow:

During the preparation of the Baptismal Water

During the preparation of the Baptismal Water

In various places that I have been in London, whether on this visit or on past stops, I have seen beautifully hand-painted Easter candles like this one. Usually the paintings are in the style of icons, including gold leaf paint. Here at the parish that I am visiting – St. James, Spanish Place – they also have a hand-painted Easter candle.

In the United States, by comparison, our Easter candles almost always come from catalogs, according to whatever designs are being offered that year by the manufacturers. Many of them are quite nice, done in wax with beautiful details (others are really cheap-looking), but none of our catalog candles are quite as vibrant and impressive as these hand-painted ones that I’ve seen on various occasions here in London. I believe this is done in other parts of Europe as well. It seems to me that the candle that Pope Francis blessed yesterday in Rome was also hand-painted.

Maybe this is something for you artistically-talented types to consider: talk to Father about ordering a plain candle a few months in advance next year, which you can then paint with vibrant iconographic representations of the Resurrection and related symbolism.

I’ll see if I can snap some photos of the one here at St. James this evening, if the lighting is sufficient – I am celebrating the 7pm Mass.

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