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Vigil Candles Lift up your prayer requests, problems, and sorrows into the hands of Our Mother, Mary: “Come to the Altar to pray, and they will receive great graces.”

THE GIFT OF LIGHT

Receive hope and peace through the meditative prayer request of a vigil candle.

Candles are symbolic prayer offerings to remember a deceased love one, request a special intention, or commemorate an event. Vigil candles at the Shrine represent a spiritual pilgrimage or prayer devotion through the intercession of Mary and her Miraculous Medal.

The History of Prayer Candles

Prayer candles date back to ancient Judaism, when lights perpetually burned in temples and synagogues as signs of God’s presence and sources of light for other lamps. The early Christians adapted these traditions using lamps and candles during Mass, in processions, and at the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs. In time, candles and lamps began to signify another layer of symbolism.

As the faithful prayed for the dead and asked Mary for her intercession and protection, the flickering lights represented their prayers uniting the deceased with the Light of Christ—heaven and earth. The candles remained at the tombs, standing vigil on behalf of the people who lit them. Because of this, the candles were frequently called vigil lights. In Latin, the word for prayer is votum, hence votive candles.