Candlemas

Here is a simple idea for the ending of a service to celebrate Candlemas.

Candlemas is a turning point in the Christian year when we turn from the Christmas season towards Lent, Holy Week and eventually Easter.  It is sometimes called a hinge moment.

Before the service plan where the figures from the stable will be placed once they have been removed from the stable. This might be the altar. Once that is decided look for a place to hang or place a cross or crucifix so that everyone can turn from the figures and turn toward the cross. This might be from the altar to the Lady Chapel or side chapel, or from the front to the back of the church.  The important thing is that people have to turn from one to face the other.

Give everyone a candle with a drip shield at the beginning of the service.

At the end of the service invite some of the children, or adults and children, to come to the stable and give each one a figure from the crib to carry. Light everyone’s candles and have a grand procession, led by the children, to the focal point in the church where the crib figures are to be placed.  Once the figures are in place invite everyone to gather around with their lighted candles and then turn and face the cross (turning from Christmas to Lent, Holy Week and Easter). The procession then moves to the cross and, when everyone has arrived at the cross, the candles and blown out and placed  at the foot of the cross. People then return to their seats. 

There are some excellent responsorial prayers in Common Worship which work well after the procession, followed by a blessing.

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