Question: Why do Catholics employ candles in their worship?
Answer: An obvious answer, of course, is “to provide light.” In the early Church,
Catholics often worshipped in the underground catacombs or burial vaults where they were protected from persecution by Roman law.
Even when the Church emerged “above ground” in the fourth century, architectural standards were such that the interiors of most large buildings were fairly dark.
Extensive use of glass windows came only in the middle ages. With modern lighting, candles are retained as a symbolic link with earlier ages.
The use of candles also expresses a certain degree of festivity.
They give a cheery glow unmatched by electric light.
At Mass, at least two beeswax candles are required on the altar.
Four or six are used on festive occasions and for high Mass.