Hi, guys —
In my parish, the Advent wreath candles and
the tabernacle are gas.
- Is this OK according to Canon Law?
According to Canon Law, is it permissible for Advent wreath candles and
the tabernacle to be gas? }
Hi, Perry —
Boy, I've never heard of that one. I don't know if there are
any written Church guidelines on
how an Advent wreath must be constructed.
This article may help:
There was nothing I could find under
Canon law on this issue. The only thing I could find on the
Vatican web site is this:
96. Advent is a time of waiting,
conversion and of hope: waiting-memory
of the first, humble coming of
the Lord in our mortal flesh;
waiting-supplication for his final,
glorious coming as Lord of History
and universal Judge; conversion,
to which the Liturgy at this time
often refers quoting the prophets,
especially John the Baptist, "Repent
for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand" (Matthew 3:2); joyful
hope that the salvation already
accomplished by Christ (cf. Romans
8:24-25) and the reality of grace
in the world, will mature and
reach their fullness, thereby
granting us what is promised by
faith, and "we shall become
like him for we shall see him
as he really is" (John 3:2).
97. Popular piety is particularly
sensitive to Advent, especially
when seen as the memory of the
preparation for the coming of
the Messiah. The Christian people
are deeply conscious of the long
period of expectation that preceded
the birth of our Saviour. The
faithful know that God sustained
Israel's hope in the coming of
the Messiah by the prophets.
Popular piety is not unaware of
this extraordinary event. Indeed,
it is awestruck at the prospect
of the God of glory taking flesh
in the womb of the humble and
lowly Virgin Mary. The faithful
are particularly sensitive to
the difficulties faced by the
Virgin Mary during her pregnancy,
and are deeply moved by the fact
that there was no room at the
inn for Joseph and Mary, just
as she was about to give birth
to the Christ child (cf. Luke 2:7).
Various expressions of popular
piety connected with Advent have
emerged throughout the centuries.
These have sustained the faith
of the people, and from one generation
to the next, they have conserved
many valuable aspects of the liturgical
season of Advent.
98. Placing four candles on green
fronds has become a symbol of
Advent in many Christian home,
especially in the Germanic countries
and in North America.
The Advent wreath, with the progressive
lighting of its four candles,
Sunday after Sunday, until the
Solemnity of Christmas, is a recollection
of the various stages of salvation
history prior to Christ's coming
and a symbol of the prophetic
light gradually illuminating the
long night prior to the rising
of the Sun of justice (cf. Malachi 3:20; Luke 1:78).
99. In many regions, various kinds
of processions are held in Advent,
publicly to announce the imminent
birth of the Saviour (the "day
star" in some Italian processions),
or to represent the journey to
Bethlehem of Joseph and Mary and
their search for a place in which
Jesus would be born (the posadas
in the Hispanic and Latin American
The Winter Interstice
100. Advent is celebrated during
the Winter interstice in the northern
hemisphere. This indicate a change
of seasons and a moment of rest
in many spheres of human endeavor.
Popular piety is extremely sensitive
to the vital cycle of nature.
While the Winter interstice is
celebrated, the seed lays in the
ground waiting for the light and
heat of the sun, which begins
its ascent with the Winter solstice,
and eventually causes it to germinate.
In those areas where popular piety
has given rise to the celebration
of the changing season, such expressions
should be conserved and used as
a time to pray the Lord, to reflect
on the meaning of human work,
which is a collaboration with
the creative work of God, a self-realization
of the person, service to the
common good, and an actualization
of the plan of redemption (cf. Vatican II, Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 34, 35, 67).
Hope this helps,
Hi, Perry —
Yes, it is OK.
It's not really gas, but I believe oil.
In any case, the Advent wreath is
non-liturgical so it doesn't matter
what the candles are,
because the regulations for liturgical
candles only cover liturgical candles,
and they must be
51% beeswax, or, if necessary, for
some reason, oil, preferably olive
oil, I think.