The third Sunday of Advent is often referred to as Gaudete Sunday from the words of its introit, Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico gaudete. 'Rejoice in the LORD always; again I say rejoice.' The same words begin the Epistle from Philippians (4:4). The Sunday's rank is a semi-double of the second class. The Gospel pericopes from St. John contain 'The Record of John', so beautifully set to music by Orlando Gibbons, and the Baptist's famous words "I am the voice of on crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the LORD."
For this Sunday, mirroring Laetare Sunday in Lent, the penitential mood is lightened with the deacon and sub-deacon wearing violet dalmatic and tunicle rather than their folded chasubles or, with the use of rose vestments. The absence of folded chasubles means that the organ may be played.
At Vespers yesterday the antiphons were proper to the Sunday, sung with the psalms of Saturday. The concluding verse of Creater alme siderum was in the ordinary form as the Marian Doxology is not sung on the Sunday within the Octave. Commemorations were sung of the Octave and St. Lucy of Syracuse.
At Mattins the invitatory is Prope est jam Dominus: Venite adoremus. This invitatory is now used until the Vigil of Christmas. In the first nocturn the lessons are taken as usual in Advent from Isaias. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from St. Leo's sermon on the fast of the tenth month. The homily in the third nocturn is from the writings of St. Gregory.
At Lauds the antiphons that were used at Vespers are again sung. Commemorations are sung of St. Lucy and the Octave. At the Hours the antiphons from Lauds are used in sequence. At Prime the versicle in the responsory is Qui venturus es in mundum and the Dominical preces are omitted due to the occurring double feast and Octave.
(A 'rose' chasuble of Adrian Fortescue DD. Purplish-rose ground with a large gold pattern woven into the fabric, velvet silk orfreys with gold edging)
Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is not sung. The second collect is of St. Lucy, the third of the Octave. The Creed is sung and the preface that of the Trinity. As the Gloria is not sung the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino.
At Vespers commemorations are sung of the following day within the Octave and of St. Lucy.
In the 'liturgical books of 1962' at both Vespers there are no commemorations. Mattins is stripped down to one nocturn of three lessons, at Lauds there are no commemorations. At Mass there is no commemoration of St. Lucy who is omitted this year, and no commemoration of the Octave which has been abolished. The dismissal is Ite, missa est.
Art (top): Jerome Nadal depicts today's Gospel where the Jews sent priests and Levites to interrogate St. John the Baptist.