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Saying it with candles

by Michael Ford last modified 27 Nov, 2020 09:04 PM

In this visual age, our parishes have been ingenious in thinking up fresh ideas for use in social media and to foster faith, and traditional ideas still work too.

What better image as we approach Advent than light shining in darkness? Or many lights?

In Abbotsbury, candles are used in spectacular fashion to mark St Catherine’s Day. The event is used by many as a memorial to those who have passed, but also as a way of celebrating life.

A service is usually held and conducted on the day by village priest Margaret Preuss-Higham, in the 14th Chapel dedicated to St Catherine. The service is centred on remembrance, firstly for St Catherine of Alexandra and her martyrdom and to those remembered and named.

Margaret says:

“Candles on the Hill began in 2017 after Tina Raymond, a trader in the village, and Barbara Laurie, an Abbotsbury village resident, were discussing a previous local event on St Catherine’s Hill.

“We threw around some ideas and started planning a St Catherine’s Day event on the nearest Sunday to St Catherine’s Day, where people could buy and decorate a waxed paper candle bag.

“Once decorated, the bag would be placed on the hill in the shape of a Catherine Wheel, representing the wheel that was broken by St Catherine when the Roman Emperor tried to torture Catherine for her religious beliefs.

“Each bag has a small amount of sand at the bottom for ballast, and a battery-operated tea light on the sand which stays alight throughout the night.

“The circle is unbroken, without beginning, or end.

“The illuminated bags are a symbol of hope that the light should never go out from our life and that each of us should maintain hope, faith and love.

“It was a wonderful sight to see the circle gradually light up as the light diminished, especially as this year life has been so uncertain. This year, a tribute was paid to the NHS with candles placed to spell the letters.

Saying it with candles- NHS

“The light symbolises the hope of better things to come, the light of Christ in the world.”

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