Let there be light: the story behind Benedict’s candle at Ground Zero

At CNS’s blog, Carol Glatz has this intriguing story about meeting Martin Marklin, the man who designed the candle for Pope Benedict’s visit to Ground Zero in 2008, and the light that nearly wasn’t:

When the candle safely arrived, Martin was then concerned about how it would be lit. It was Pope Benedict’s desire to light the candle himself and Martin wanted to make sure it could be done right. Lighting a candle may not seem like a big deal, but given the huge number of people watching and the importance of the event, the lighting needed to be dignified, smooth and actually result in a flame.

The event organizers took Martin’s advice and supplied a brazier and a taper that the pope would use to light the candle.

However, on the big day, the server was holding the taper in such a way that even though it had a glass draft protector, a breeze came and blew out the flame.

Msgr. Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, and the acolyte looked at each other. There was no light!

But, instead of panic, the monsignor reached into his pocket and pulled out a plain disposable lighter and helped the pope light the flame.

Msgr. Marini’s resourcefulness saved the day, however, Martin was disappointed that the thing he was trying to avoid (a tacky lighter) was the light’s source.

He confided in me that before he shipped the candle, he carved the initials of his four children in the candle base because “If we’re going to have a world to pass on to our children, we need to pray for peace.”

There’s much more. Read it all. 


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