Clergy at York Minster have launched a new initiative to use the Paschal (Easter) Candle as a focus for prayer for all those directly or indirectly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic following the announcement by the House of Bishops that allows clergy back inside their buildings to pray.
Loved ones can be remembered in prayer in front of the Easter Candle in York Minster.
Clergy will pray inside the Minster every day and the Paschal Candle has been set up as a symbol of hope and prayer in the Lady Chapel. People are invited to email a request for prayer to be said at the candle for their loved one or for someone for whom they are concerned.
The Paschal Candle, symbolises the life and light of the Risen Christ bursting forth from the empty tomb before dawn on the first Easter Day and in normal times would have been lit from a newly-kindled fire and would have continued burning throughout the Easter season until the Pentecost, 50 days later.
The Minster clergy, along with members of the wider Minster Community, have continued to pray and hold services online during this time but the recent announcement that clergy can re-enter churches and cathedrals to pray means the Paschal Candle can be lit and used in the Minster during the Easter season, and prayers requested by families and friends for their loved ones and others will be said.
Canon Maggie McLean, Canon Missioner at York Minster said that whilst the Covid-19 lockdown measures were necessary to keep everyone safe, they had been particularly tough for family and friends of those who had died in recent weeks.
“The death of a loved one is one of life’s most difficult moments. For many, the chance to visit a church or cathedral to offer a prayer in their memory or to attend their funeral are hugely important rites of passage, deeply emotional acts of respect and love that give comfort and solace, and which are important for the grieving process.
“With places of worship having been closed, these simple, human rituals have become all but impossible, amplifying the heartbreak and trauma of the bereavement. While it is still not possible to offer the full services of the Church to those who are grieving, this is an important step in the direction of what many are looking and hoping for.
“The offering of prayer in this way, will be a reminder that they are not alone but are embraced in the love and care of God and the human family,” she added.
Send your request for prayer at the candle to firstname.lastname@example.org. All emails will receive a response within 48 hours. There will be an email confirmation and a photograph of the lit Paschal Candle.