By Nicole Pellicano, Catholic News Service     9/25/2015

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A New Hampshire-based candle maker produced the candle that was to be lit by Pope Francis at ground zero in New York Sept. 25.

Martin Marklin, who runs Marklin Candle Design with his wife, Christine, in Contoocook, also made the liturgical candles for the U.S. visits of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. And he takes immense pride in what can be considered as works of art, he told Catholic News Service by email Sept. 23.

The candle, like all other candles Marklin’s shop designs, was hand dipped over the course of several days. It then took over a day to decorate the candle with two papal coats of arms, colored wax, and gold leaf.

On the bottom of the candle, Marklin carved the initials of his children, done so with this one hope in mind: “If we want a world to pass on to our children, and our children’s children, we as a people need to pray for peace,” he said.

While Marklin keeps about 100 hives, the amount of wax he can collect from them is not enough for producing the all the candles they make.

“We purchase tens of thousands of pounds of beeswax on the global market annually for our company,” he said, as it takes over 1.5 billion bees to make the wax the company uses in one year.

The approximately 50,000 bees in just one hive yield more than a hundred pounds of honey in the course of a season, yet a mere one to two pounds of beeswax in the same time frame. Since beeswax makes up over half of the six-pound, two-foot tall candle that will be lit by Pope Francis, more than 100,000 bees’ labor was part of the candle’s production, he said.

The delicate product is susceptible to damage when in transit, Marklin said, and with upward of 30 years’ experience, he has the process down to a science, fabricating two identical candles for each event and shipping them separately. But in addition to the candle to be used at ground zero, Pope Francis will receive another special shipment from Marklin while the pope is in New York.

Earlier this year following a Mass in the Upper West side of Manhattan, Marklin said he and his wife met Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s U.N. nuncio, with whom Pope Francis will be staying during his visit to New York City.

While preparing for the pope’s stateside arrival, Marklin sent over to the archbishop what he felt was the most important package of all. “I sent two beeswax prayer candle sets, with bases that I turned myself. One for (Archbishop Auza) and one to give Pope Francis.”

While Marklin previously dreamed of making candles for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, he now hopes that the pope will use these candles in his own private prayer.

“I would love to have Pope Francis call me up to send him more candles,” he said.

Attached to the prayer sets was a personal card and honey from Marklin’s bee farm.

“Let’s keep each other, and all God’s people, in constant prayer,” Marklin wrote to the pope. “May this honey, also a gift from my bees, remind you to taste and see how good the Lord is.”