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Rev. Edwin Ryan, D.D.

New magazine format


In the Catholic Faith, candles not only represent “the True Light Which enlightens every man who comes into the world” but much more besides! Discover the rich symbolism and ancient history surrounding the use of church candles in this fascinating, illustrated book.

Educate yourself about the rules and practices concerning candles in the Roman Liturgy through chapters that cover Masses offered by a priest or bishop, a sick call, the Divine Office and even when administering the other Sacraments or for other solemn occasions.

Last published in 1937 and written by noted American professor of liturgy, Fr. Edwin Ryan, this easy-to-read and magazine format book (11 x 8.5 in) was originally intended as an advertising medium for the now defunct Gross Candle Co.


This also unique and interesting for its wonderful illustrations, which were created especially for this book by artists, Terence J. Hughes and James R. Howard. The illustrations are a combination of vivid watercolors and striking black and white line drawings of altars decorated with candles according to rules of the Roman Church.


The illustrations are even more interesting for showing properly constructed altars decorated with a full array of flowers (in the Roman fashion), antependiums, conopaeums, pavement candles, candelabra, and even riddel post curtains and candles.


Candles in the Roman Rite is perfect for any Catholic who desires to learn more about the liturgy. It is especially appropriate for sacristans, altar servers, church artisans, ladies’ altar guilds and parish florists. Also a great reference for seminaries, catechism classes, and Catholic libraries.

36 pages, softcover, saddle-stitched.



A feature at Mass that often seems overlooked (at least from my perspective) are candles in the liturgy... Candles have great significance in the Roman Liturgy and the number of candles used at the liturgy bears importance...

Read the full review here.  Vincent Pham, The Catholic Man Reviews


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Yet another fine reprint from Romanitas Press, this book does not fail either in quality of content or quality of stock. It was originally published by the advertising department of the A. Gross Candle Co., Inc. of Baltimore, Maryland. Romanitas Press has done it again by finding this rare but important work and making it available.


Upon reading the book, one finds out how much they do not know about the use of candles in the Roman Rite. So many of us have been to Mass how many thousands times, always noticing the lit candles on the altar but never putting much thought into why the candles are there and what they symbolize.


Candles gives you the "how" (the rubrics) and the "why" (the history and symbolism) of the use of candles. A nugget of teaching from the book:


The custom of making church candles from beeswax was suggested from the then supposed virginity of bees, their wax being taken as a symbol of the Body of the Redeemer derived from His Virgin Mother, an interpretation which retains its beauty even though the biological concept underlying it has been long since rejected.


Anyone with an interest in the rituals of the Catholic Church will find Candles in the Roman Rite to be a fine addition to their liturgical library. Book review by Derek Bonnel,

Candles in the Roman Rite

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