2004 and people still beleive in the supernatural. you can use these candles to make magic happen


Candles light spiritual paths for believers

Angela Cara Pancrazio
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 3, 2004 12:00 AM

ach vela has a story.

Their stories are depicted with boldly colored artwork on the front of the columnlike glass jars filled with wax. Believers light the velas, or candles, with the hopes such as keeping a loved one safe or making a secret wish come true. Each one represents a saint with different powers.

Take the Santo Nio de Atocha, which Christine Marin lights every morning in her kitchen. Or consider the tiny altar at Virgie Franco's home with the saints staring out from the front of the velas.

Terry Arzate drives from Peoria to the San Francisco Mission in south Phoenix to strike a match and light up the Saint Jude and the Guardian Angel.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of differently painted and crafted velas are available in grocery stores from Gilbert to Globe, in yerberias around Phoenix, specialty stores and on the World Wide Web with companies like mexgrocer.com.

Velas have been part of the personal experience for many centuries and here in the Valley people continue to light them to connect with their spirituality and help them appeal to saints and other religious icons.

Fausto Peafiel, pastor for Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Glendale says that the candle is a reminder of Christ, the light of the world.

"As we pray, he enters our lives," he said. "We have to move away from the darkness that symbolizes sin."

Penafiel cautions his own parish that if they light one of the tall candles, with the artwork, at home to remember to blow them out.

"People have specific devotions to saints, they buy the candle with specific artwork to petition their saint to intercede for them."

Christine Marin, a native of Globe, leans on her mother's story as her story. The family adopted Santo Nio de Atocha as their patron saint because of her mother's mining background in northern New Mexico.

"According to my mom, his story is linked to our lady of Atocha in Madrid, Spain," Marin said.

"The Moors invaded the town of Atocha. The Moors were victorious as they fought against the Christians, who they captured and imprisoned."

The Moors, Marin's mother told her, kept families away from their loved ones who were prisoners, preventing them from providing food and water. The North African Moors indeed controlled much of Spain from around the eighth to 12th centuries.

"So the families prayed for their loved ones that were imprisoned and prayed that they could visit. Then a child appeared in the village, dressed as a pilgrim, carrying a basket of food and a gourd of water," Marin said. "So the Moors allowed a child dressed like this to visit the prisoners.

"It was sort of like a miracle that came in the form of this child, the infant child Jesus, but now he was a young boy dressed as a pilgrim."

"That's the story I learned when I was growing up . . . he will never forsake you, he will always be there to protect you," Marin said. "In our Marin family, it's the Santo Nio."

The faithful like Marin can buy their velas just about everywhere; rows of prayer candles have their special places on shelves in big-box stores, grocery stores and dollar stores.

Inside the Banzai 99 cents plus store on McDowell Road, across from the marshmallows, the Limn 7 and Fanti Soda candies, shop owner Sang Kim clutched a Virgen de Guadalupe candle in his hand and said that the color of the candle doesn't matter.

The picture is what his customers are after.

By far, he said, the Virgen is his biggest seller.

Virgie Franco would have to agree; she always keeps the Virgen on her altar at home because, Franco said, "she symbolizes strength and motherhood."

While the Virgen shines brightly inside the San Francisco Mission, she has plenty of company.

In case you forget your candle, for a donation of $2, you can buy just about any vela here from San Judas Tadeo - Saint Jude, and San Martn Caballero - Saint Martin Caballero to the Angel Guardin - the Guardian Angel.

If your own words are hard to come by, read the prayers printed on the backs of the velas.

The prayer to Saint Jude goes like this: "Most holy apostle Saint Jude I am so helpless and alone. I implore you to bring visible and speedy help. I will be ever mindful of the is great favor and always honor you as my special and powerful patron."

For good fortune, seek out the help of Saint Martin Caballero with this prayer: "Oh Saint Martin Caballero, remove the bad luck from my house. Give me good luck, work and money."

Terry Arzate lit her candle at the San Francisco Mission because, she said, "It's very good to pray to the Guardian Angel. It gives me spirit."

So if you share her need for a jumpstart for inspiration, appeal to the Guardian Angel with this prayer: "Reveal to me what I must do tomorrow."

Reach the reporter at angela.pancrazio@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-8126.

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