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 that of a semi-double of the second class. The Gospel pericopes from St. John contain the Baptist's famous words "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the LORD." On this Sunday, mirroring Laetare Sunday in Lent, the penitential mood lifts a little with the deacon and sub-deacon wearing violet dalmatic and tunicle rather than their folded chasubles or, following the more modern praxis, of rose colour. The use of rose vestments is not obligatory. The absence of folded chasubles means that the organ may be played. On this Sunday Cardinals of the Court of Rome, in better days, removed their violet merino dress and wore rose watered-silk cassocks, with rose watered-silk mozzeta and mantelleta. This year it is also the Sunday within the Octave of the Immaculate Conception.
At Vespers yesterday the antiphons from tomorrow's Lauds, Veniet Dominus etc, were sung with the psalms of Saturday. The Office hymn was Creator alme siderum, sung with the ordinary Doxology (prior to 1911-13 the Doxology of the Incarnation would have been sung). After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the Octave of the Immaculate Conception and of St. Lucy. At Compline the Dominical preces were omitted.
At Mattins the invitatory is Prope est jam Dominus: Venite adoremus. This invitatory is now used until the 23rd of December inclusive. The Office hymn is Verbum supernum. In the first nocturn the antiphons Veniet ecce Rex etc are sung with the usual psalms for Sunday. The lessons are a continuation of Isaiah. In the second nocturn the antiphons Gaude et laetare etc are sung and the lessons are taken from St. Leo's sermon on the fast of the tenth month. In the third nocturn the antiphons Gabriel Angelus etc are sung and the homily is from St. Gregory on St. John's Gospel and the record of the Baptist. The Te Deum is omitted and in its place a ninth responsory, Docebit nos Dominus vias suas, is sung.
At Lauds the antiphons Veniet Dominus etc are sung with Pss. 92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148. The Office hymn is En clara vox. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of St. Lucy and of the Octave of the Immaculate Conception. The Suffrage is omitted. At Prime the versicle in the Short Responsory is Qui venturus and the Dominical preces are omitted.
Mass is sung after Terce. The ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle. The Gloria not sung. The second collect is of St. Lucy, the third collect of the Octave of the Immaculate Conception. The Creed is sung and the preface is of the Trinity. As the Gloria is not sung the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino sung by the deacon facing the altar.
At Vespers the antiphons, Veniet Dominus etc, are sung with Pss 109, 110, 111, 112 & 113. The Office hymn is Creator alme siderum. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following day within the Octave of the Immaculate Conception (the antiphon on the Magnficat being Beatem me dicent etc) and of St. Lucy. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.
In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Octave has been abolished. There are no commemorations at either Vespers. Mattins is stripped down to a single nocturn of three lessons. At Lauds there are no commemorations. At Mass there is but a single collect and the dismissal is Ite, missa est.
Art: Jerome Nadal depicts today's Gospel where the Jews sent priests and Levites to interrogate St. John the Baptist.