Saturday, February 9, 2013

Votive Candles

As a child, I disliked the season of lent.  It seemed so dark and dreary and always fell in such a drab time of year.  I was lazy in my youth and didn't like the idea of having to give up or sacrifice.  Worse yet, I totally disliked fish.  (And still do!)

But there is one fond memory I have of my Lenten childhood, and that is attending the Stations of the Cross with my mother (and father when he had off of work.)


(The first station, Jesus is condemned to death.)

I can vividly recall singing Stabat Mater in English, the prayers lead by the priest, and the responses by those in attendance.  The service was always on a Friday, to mark the day that Christ was crucified.

I am grateful that my faith has continued to grow along with my aging body, and I continue to share this tradition with my own children.

What are the Stations of the Cross?  For you non-Catholics (and fallen away Catholics), in short, the object of the meditation is for the faithful to make a spiritual journey (pilgrimage) to the main scenes of Christ's suffering and death, stopping to pray and meditate at each station.  Clearly putting into perspective exactly how Christ sacrificed for us.


Stations of the Cross votive candles ::

It's been hard to keep the commitment of attending the Stations, especially since we can't walk to church, (like "back then" as my children refer to my childhood years.)   So, we've tried different ways of meditating on them at home.

This year, I'm hoping these candles will make it more tangible.




A friend originally told me about these candles a few years back.  You light each votive candle as you meditate on it.

She couldn't remember the source so I googled it and found the original idea at this blog, (Ten Kids and a Dog).  She has the small, printable stations available here.

I tweaked it a bit.

I printed, cut, and then used Mod Podge to adhere the labels to clear votives.


Next, I just popped a purple votive candle into each.


(The color purple is chosen to represent solemnity, with connotations of both penance and royal dignity.)

I bought a pack of 16 clear votives on sale at Michaels for $4.99.




Two boxes of purple votive candles for $6.00 each.  (They were not on sale, nor did I have a coupon with me.)



The original post showed the votives glued onto a board.  I chose not to do this.  I thought it might make any wax removal more difficult (and possibly break a glass votive in the process.)

I am confident that with this tangible form of meditation, my kids will have a more meaningful experience with the Stations of the Cross.

You can find a complete meditation on the Stations of the Cross here.

Ash Wednesday is February 13.

~  Patty  ~

17 comments:

  1. I love this, Patty! Thanks so much!

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  2. What a great idea! A wonderful addition to lent. I am in search of purple votive candles. No Michael's near me, but may have to check JoAnn's and see what I can find. I wanted them as part of a centerpiece for the table. I think the little things like this make a liturgical season so much more meaningful and special.

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  3. Oh my gosh! Incredible!!! Thanks so much for sharing this. Do you mind if I pass your link on to my Women's Group?!!!

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  4. Beautiful. Love the and appreciate the many traditions of the Catholic Church. We attended a stations of the cross mass (?) with my sister and her family one year, it was very powerful. I admire the way you are making your faith so tangible for your children.

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    1. Jill, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your comment! Living in Baptist country, many think Catholics are going straight to hell on a fiery path! Sometimes I laugh at that, sometimes I find that very sad. At any rate, hearing words, as your own, from a Protestant, is very much appreciated! Thank you!

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  5. Oh, Patty, thank you so much for posting this. I absolutely love the votives and I now plan to make them. All you said about not liking Lent as a child was the same way I felt as a newly converted Catholic, so I am not sure it is so much childhood as a level of spiritual growth. I still struggle with it at times, but I feel I am getting a better grasp of it each year. Thank you for posting about things like this that can help any who are struggling...children or adults.

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  6. Oh, Patty, thank you so much for posting this. I absolutely love the votive candles and now plan to make them. How you described how you felt about Lent as a child is exactly the way I felt as a newly converted Catholic. I think it is a stage of spiritual growth and I have to be honest with you and tell you I still struggle at times with Lent. It does get better each year for me. Thank you for posting about a way to make it easier.

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    1. Phyllis, you are so welcome! I never even thought about adults who have converted and are still growing. We are always on the journey. I know too many cradle Catholics and converts who don't feel it necessary to continue to grow and learn in faith. A simple suggestion for anyone for the season of lent would be to keep it simple by focusing on one aspect of lent. Practice that aspect, like the Station, and also research the practice during Lent. I find that when I struggled in the past with a particular teaching of the Church, I would research the why's that support it instead of saying, "I don't like this teaching, therefore I refuse to believe it.". Not that you refuse. Just saying in general. The answers are there, intertwined with the sacred Word and sacred Tradition.

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  7. How wonderful! Thanks SO much for sharing this!

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  8. this is lovely, Patty. thanks for sharing.

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  9. I have seen this idea around before but have never attempted it. Last year was finally the first year we were able to make it each Friday for stations. The boys help carry the cross and candles and the other kids can follow Father around to the different stations. I'm amazed at how attentive they can be (for the most part!) This is a great idea and your kids will love it!

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  10. I really admired these when I saw them a few years ago...Love your idea with the purple candles! Praying it's a beautiful and prayerful addition to your Lent:)

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  11. I've seen this idea before too and thought about doing it. Let me know how your younger children do. I'm thinking it's too long for my first graders. The purple candles are the perfect touch.

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    1. Hi Noreen, when I do the stations, I use one of the children's books (listed in the previous post). They are definitely more age appropriate in length and comprehension. May you have a fruitful lent!

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  12. lovely creations. the stations of the cross candles have become a family lenten tradition. in fact, i made sets for all godparents. i love their simplicity.

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  13. Love this Patty and hope to one day make them and use them in my own domestic church! Maybe this year? Maybe? :)

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