Anyone can light a candle at a Catholic church.
Anyone can light a candle at a Catholic church.

When you go into a Catholic church, you may see a table or alter of lit and unlit candles. These candles may be lit by anyone, Catholic or not, to demonstrate the intention of a person's prayer. The continually burning flame symbolizes the ongoing nature of the prayer even after the person who lit the candle has left the church. Candles may be lit for loved ones who have died, in gratitude, supplication or any other intention. A small donation may be requested to offset the cost of the candle.

How to Light a Candle at the Catholic Church

A table of votive candles.
A table of votive candles.

Locate the table or alter of small votive candles. They may be located in the vestibule, or entryway, of the church.

Praying with a rosary.
Praying with a rosary.

Identify a candle that has not been lit.

Unused matches are usually near the table of candles.
Unused matches are usually near the table of candles.

Select an unlit match from the box of matches that is sitting on or near the candles.

Candles at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France.
Candles at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France.

Using the flame from a lit candle, light the match.

Votive candles.
Votive candles.

Light the unlit candle you have chosen.

Make a voluntary donation.
Make a voluntary donation.

Make a donation for the candle. There will probably be a small box on the wall near the table or on the table itself in which you can put the money. The donation is completely voluntary and helps defray the cost of the candles.