Candles nestled in the evergreen of a wreath is considered one of the highlights of the Advent season. Attending Mass, one would notice a candle is lit from the first Sunday of Advent and each subsequent Sunday leading up to the week of Christmas.
For one parish, focusing on the meaning of the Advent candles was something they did not want parishioners to limit to their church spaces. At St Francis of Assisi, Sangre Grande, the Ministry Animation Team wanted parishioners to focus on praying more in their personal spaces during this season of “waiting”.
One member of the team, twenty-one-year-old, Kristian Luces took charge of the initiative to get these candles to homes and offices. While Advent candles are readily available at many liturgical bookshops, the cost can be quite demanding ranging from $55–$100 for the set four candles (three purple and one pink). The white candle which is lit on Christmas day is excluded as it is common to find.
“Our parishioners reminisced on Advent in 2012 when we provided churchgoers with candles with a wreath. Our parish priest, Fr Matthew Ragbir suggested that we should source candles and sell it to parishioners with the required prayers. He asked someone to take charge of this so I decided I would as I really love organising stuff and getting the best price,” he shared with the Catholic News.
“I considered many parishioners might not be able to afford them or they are just too small for the cost. This led me to contact some candle companies in Trinidad who I was surprised to see charged less.”
Thus, an idea which was first limited to the Sangre Grande community quickly turned into a much larger project as Luces thought about how the candles could be marketed on a larger scale.
On the first weekend in November after advertising, 120 candles were sold. Two days later the parish then got orders from Rio Claro, Toco, Arima, Bourg Mulatresse, San Fernando and even as far as Cedros.
“I got feedback mainly from parishes who expressed if they had known earlier, they would have bought from us because of our rates. We’re selling to individuals at $25 per set and a discounted rate of $20 for parishes.”
The personal touch to the candles is what brings his customers joy, says Luces as he delivers directly to their doorstep. Still, he does not accept all the credit as his process and distribution team involves his mom, dad, sister and grandmother.
Profits earned will be used for the parish’s Communications Ministry which Luces also leads.
Orders are accepted throughout the season but with Advent beginning on December 1, do not miss this opportunity to get your candles to begin the season right. —Renee Smith