The third Sunday of Advent, often referred to as Gaudete Sunday from the words of its introit, Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico gaudete sees a lightening of the Advent mood. '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, with the Baptist's famous words "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the LORD."
(A recording of Gibbon's masterpiece from YouTube above.)
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, Veniet Dominus etc., sung with the psalms of Saturday. Although within an Octave of the Blessed Virgin the concluding verse of Creator alme siderum was in the ordinary form as the Doxology is not sung on the Sunday within the Octave following the 1911-13 reform. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of St. Damasus and of the Octave. At Compline the Dominical preces were omitted due to the occurring Octave.
At Mattins the invitatory is Prope est jam Dominus: Venite adoremus. This invitatory is now used until the 23rd of December inclusive. 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 on St. John's Gospel and the record of the Baptist. At Lauds the antiphons that were used at Vespers are again sung. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration of the Octave is sung.
At the Hours the antiphons from Lauds are used in the usual sequence. At Prime the versicle in the responsory is Qui venturus es in mundum and the Dominical preces are omitted due to the occurring 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 ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle. The Gloria is not sung. The second collect is of the Octave. There is no third collect, as is the normal rule for Sundays within Octaves. The Creed is sung and the preface that of the Trinity. As the Gloria is not sung the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino.
(The veil and stole from Dr. Fortescue's extant rose set of vestments. Note the decoration and width of the stole ends.)
At Vespers commemorations are sung of the following feast of St. Lucy and of the Octave. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.
In the 'liturgical books of 1962' at both Vespers there are no commemorations. The Octave of the Virgin has been abolished. Mattins is stripped down to one nocturn of three lessons. At Lauds there are no commemorations. At Mass there is only one collect and 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.