Nikon D60, Nikkor VR 55-200mm lens
St-Sauveur church, Quebec CANADA
January 22 2011
“The Sight of burning votive candles -real or electronic – is common in most Catholic churches. The candles are usually placed before statues of saints or at shrines. But how did this tradition get its start?
According to A Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals, by Ann Ball (Our Sunday Visitor Books), the practice of lighting candles in order to obtain some favor probably has its origins in the custom of burning lights at the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs. The lights burned as a sign of solidarity with Christians still on earth. Because the lights continually burned as a silent vigil, they became known as vigil lights.
Vigil Lights (from the Latin vigilia, which means “waiting” or “watching”) are traditionally accompanied by prayers of attention or waiting. Another common type of candle offering is the votive light. Such an offering is indicative of seeking some favor from the Lord or the saint before which the votive is placed.
Lighting a candle is a way of extending one’s prayer and showing solidarity with the person on whose behalf the prayer is offered."
~A Catholic Life.blogspot.com