Inside a church on Lower Huntington Road in Waynedale the Paschal Candle usually stands near the baptismal font. But, during this special time of the church year-the Easter season, it is a focus point—a symbol of Christ’s Light. That He has risen!
St. Therese Catholic Church has adopted this ancient custom-the Paschal Candle. It is a very large candle that symbolizes both the pillar of fire that led Israel by night and the risen Lord at Easter. Father Joe Rulli commented that the Paschal Candle gets its name from the Hebrew word “pesah,” meaning Passover. This resurrection symbol has been used in worship since at least the 5th century.
St. Therese’s Easter vigil, held on the Saturday eve before Easter, is among the most impressive and beautiful of all Christian celebrations. It is for this special celebration that Brady Specht was chosen to design and paint St. Therese’s Paschal Candle. Brady is the son of Jeff and Anna Specht, formerly of Winchester Road in Waynedale. Brady attended St. Therese Catholic School, and Bishop Luers High School his freshman and sophomore years. He is currently a junior at Homestead High School.
Father Joe approached Brady about three years ago and asked him if he would be interested in painting a special candle. Brady having no previous experience with this sort of thing said, “Sure, but I’ll need your help.” Father Joe and Brady began designing, then painting. “The first candle took me a long time,” said Brady. “I worked on it in increments of an hour at a time for a year.”
“Given are designs on the candle like the cross, the alpha and omega, and the year.” A tree with four streams coming off of it completed the first candle. As the next Easter arrived Brady’s images on the candle became more intricate. He felt the carving that they did on the first candle took away from the design so he eliminated that and concentrated on his style of painting. He added doves and a vine. This year Brady has chosen images of people-like Mary, Jesus taken from the cross, and the crowd watching during the crucifixion.
As the light of the day fades away St. Therese parishioners will begin using their Paschal Candle, designed by Brady Specht. At the Easter vigil, Saturday, March 26 at 8pm, Father Joe Rulli will begin by blessing a fire built outside of the church. As parishioners gather around the fire they will think of Christ, the light of God’s glory. And from this special fire, the Paschal Candle will also be blessed, and will then be lit. As this candle enters the church its light spreads to the candles held by each member at the worship ceremony. The wick represents Christ’s humanity. The halo of flame represents His divinity. Candles lit from this beautiful candle symbolize Christ’s giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples. This is the resurrection night. “Alleluia” will be sung for the first time in 40 days as the gospel of the resurrection is proclaimed: “Christ is risen!”
The candle will remain lit at all the services during the 50 days after the Easter vigil. Easter is not over until Pentecost, the 50th day.
After the Easter season this large crème-colored beeswax candle is placed close to the baptismal font as a visual reminder that through baptism we can see His light.
It is also appropriate to light this candle during other initiation rites such as confirmation, renewal of baptism and marriage, weddings, and funerals.
Brady Specht’s candle will show its light to all the parishioners at St. Therese Catholic Church on Easter, as they shout “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!”