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Pentecost feedback reflection

For the Day of Pentecost, (the end of the great 50 days of the Season of Easter, during which the Easter/Paschal candle had been burning at every service) I suggested a formal way of concluding the Easter Season and mirroring the lighting of candles at the Easter Vigil that began the season (here):

Everyone carried a candle lit from the Paschal Candle during the Easter vigil, symbolically sharing the light of the risen Christ. Perhaps on the Day of Pentecost, during the period of reflection after receiving communion, these candles could be relit from the Paschal Candle. The Pentecostal fire is thereby visibly divided and shared by everyone (cf. Acts 2:1-4; first reading for the Day of Pentecost, Three Year Series). The Paschal Candle can then be extinguished, vividly concluding the Fifty Days. The risen and ascended Christ, gone from our sight, is still present by the Spirit and we are commissioned to go out into the world to spread the light of Christ. (This might be symbolised by all processing out with the lit candles).

I regularly receive feedback about suggestions on this site, and was particularly encouraged by a parish that tried the above suggestion:

I recently came across your website researching Pentecost liturgy and was delighted by your suggestions for ways to keep the Day of Pentecost connected to the Easter season. This year, we incorporated your suggestions: individual candles were lit from the Paschal candle as the people return to their seats after receiving communion. We decided to reverse the flow of communion, so that the people went up the side aisles to receive, then returned to their seats down the chancel aisle, lighting a candle off the Paschal Candle as they returned to their seats. While it did slow things down a little bit, it didn’t seem to matter, as the people who had already returned to their seats could watch the candle-lighting and see the Church–the Body of Christ–receiving the flame. In a way, this action became an icon. The energy in the room and the contemplative and peaceful looks on faces indicated a deep impression made.

We then launched straight into the retiring procession, with myself, the rector and assisting priest stopping in the aisle for the Threefold Pentecost Blessing, after which the Paschal Candle was blown out and the people dismissed. Feedback from the congregation was positive, with many appreciating the formal ending of Eastertide. We will definitely be incorporating this permanently into our Pentecost liturgy.

Thank you so much for your elegant suggestions. The ministry team here is very excited about your liturgical innovation and believes it teaches the faith in a very effective way.

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