I did a little research into the tradition of candling lighting at Mass and at Church and wanted to share it with everyone. This article does a good job of explaining the basics of prayer candles.
The main function of numerous, small candles in glass containers — that are often displayed in racks or stands and known as votives or vigil lights — is to maintain the intention of prayers, usually for a specific issue or person. Those who light them usually say a prayer over one candle at a time, and by keeping these individual candles lit for extended periods of time, the individual prayer is believed to be prolonged and amplified along with the intentions of other believers’ prayers. This creates a collective spirit of prayer for the entire church that is comforting and empowering, because even when churchgoers leave, their prayers remain in the Church — and then others may pray over the candles later.
Most times, churches and shrines ask for a small donation when you light a candle. This donation goes to getting more candles for others’ intentions and to a local charity of the location’s choice.
At CSU Masses we have electric candles that we use to pray for our intentions. You are more than welcomed to come and light a candle for your intentions. Lastly, I wanted to add a candle to our website for all the students, faculty, staff, and the UML community.
Just an update on the topic. The CSU community reached out to me to inform me about a virtual prayer candle website. Now anyone can light a candle from the comfort of their homes. I still encourage you to explore candle lighting at churches though.
Here is the site: http://www.gratefulness.org/light-a-candle/