Busted Halo
feature: sex & relationships
February 24th, 2010

The Unity Candle

The Princess, The Priest and the War for the Perfect Wedding Episode 12

by and Dr. Christine B. Whelan & Fr. Eric Andrews CSP

Want to see more? Watch other episodes of “The Princess, The Priest and the War for the Perfect Wedding”.

Dr. Christine B. Whelan, is an Iowa-based social historian, professor, journalist and author. She is the author of Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to True Love, and Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women.

Fr. Eric Andrews CSP is the President of Paulist Productions, the film and television ministry of the Paulist Fathers, located in Los Angeles, California. Prior to entering the priesthood, he worked for Jim Henson and the Muppets on a variety of television productions.

The Author : The Editors

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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Concerned Catholic

    I’m concerned about this website. To the sociologist who’s asking questions about “Catholic” weddings, you may need to do more work and ask more priests. With respect to the priest you used as your resource, I’m surprised that he doesn’t know the symbolism of the “unity candle”.
    FYI: the unity candle represents the union of man and woman with God. Both the bride and the groom use a small/thin candle to light a big candle. Once the big candle is lit, they each blow their own candle leaving just the big candle which will stay on throughout the ceremony. This ritual is common in Filipino weddings and those with Spanish influence countries.
    Now, offering of flower(s) to Mama Mary is done by Catholics
    who understands and appreciates the importance of Her role in the Plan of God. The priest you used as your resource should know this.

  • vinny

    The sign of unity in a catholic marriage is the rings..when you add another sign of unity it diminishes the first and more important one, The unity candle makes no sense and is an unecessary ” add on”. I have seen weddings where both sets or parents were divorced, with new signifcant others, spouses..a real mess..some weddings the bride and groom lit the small candles. some weddings the mothers did, some wedding both sets of parents did..and last one with all the divorced..couple didn’t know who to ask. Who the heck is it supposed to represent the union of..the mothers, the parents , the couple. Just stick with the rings!!! enough already.

  • mlb517

    Hey Fr Eric, Im glad you are still representing for UT!

  • cathyf

    When I got married, the unity candle was our priest’s wedding present to us…

  • frjimt

    It takes longer for the unity candle junk that it does for the vows, the rings.
    We end up standing around listening to a soloist singing 98 verses of pete seger’s greatest hits.

    So, I recommend that couples incorporate the candle (bringing ceremony & reception together) by doing it at the time of “grace” and “toast.”

    Besides, the candles last longer than the marriage!

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