Holy Week Fire


“My parish, St. Edward the Confessor, in Clifton Park, NY, has a tradition during Holy Week. Our pastor, Fr. Patrick Butler, starts a fire during the week, using a magnifying glass and the sun. That flame gets transferred to a candle. At the conclusion of Holy Thursday night prayer, all present are invited out to the courtyard, where kindling and logs are ready to be ignited. Using the old oils of the past year and the flame from the candle, the fire is set ablaze. Now, from 11 p.m. on Holy Thursday all the way until the Easter Vigil begins on Holy Saturday, people have signed up to tend the fire, to prayerfully await the Resurrection, the return of Light in the Risen Lord!

“This year I signed up for 5 a.m. on Holy Saturday, which is when I took this photo—not because I wanted that hour specifically, but because it was the only one left when I signed up. Yes, each hour is taken by individuals, families, groups such as youth ministry, or people grouped by their ministries. It is a most beautiful way to keep the flame alive and to wait for the Lord.”

Submitted by Fran Rossi Szpylczyn.

8 Comments on Holy Week Fire

  1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful idea and practice! What a wonderful way to celebrate and hold up the return of the light at Easter!

  2. It is lovely to see all these comments. Although we have done this for a number of years, this is the first time I signed up to tend the fire – it was one of the most prayerful hours of my life. And knowing that this Vigil was lovingly passed from the people for whom I took over, and then passed to those who showed up at the next hour, just reminded me of the continuity of love.

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