The St. Margaret’s Artist Guild exists to not only create beautiful things but also to help elevate the sacramental experience. The Guild’s latest project came to be after Fr. Jamin expressed the desire to make something new out of the prayer intention candle holders that were being discarded. At that point, it was only natural that the Confirmation candles would come about, starting from prayer intention votives coupled with the re-melted previous year’s Paschal Candle and a few drops of chrism.
Trisha Slade, Gina Little, and Patricia Waguespack spent an afternoon breaking, melting, and reconstructing the old votive and Paschal candles to create prayer candles for the newly confirmed high schoolers. The kitchen in the parish hall became a makeshift chemistry lab that smelled heavily of– and heavenly – due to the aroma of chrism. The candles were then painted. Finally, Baleigh Henderson personalized each candle with a Confirmation candidate’s name and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
So why are the elements of the Confirmation candle important?
One only has to turn to the effects of Confirmation to see the importance. During Confirmation, the soul is imprinted with an indelible spiritual mark of a Christian, that is, the Christian receives the power to profess publicly the Christian belief (CCC 1304,1305). By grace, the Holy Spirit imparts a special strength to defend the faith and be a true witness of Christ. This strength is known through the seven spiritual gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of God. This is depicted on the candles with seven hand-painted flames coming forth from a dove through the cross on the candle. The element of the re-melted Paschal Candle adds to the richness of the symbolism in that Christ fulfilled his promise of the “outpouring of the Spirit” at Pentecost. By using the Paschal candles, we are perpetuating what happened during Pentecost, namely the apostles’ radical change. The “before” the outpouring and the “after” are vastly different. People are changed by the Spirit, and they cannot go back to who they were before. It would serve us well to remember this event. The chrism, used during the administering of the sacrament, was also added to the candles and can take one right back to his or her Confirmation. How fitting that the candles are made from the prayer intention votives! Prayer is unitive; not only do we strive to be in communion with God, but we also strive to be in communion with others. Our prayers, united with the prayers of those who came before us, are powerful things.
Congratulations to those young people who have been fully initiated into our faith!