The First Sunday of Advent will be observed in a celebration of High Mass at St. Stanislaus Church, State Street at Eld Street, New Haven, this Sunday, December, at 2:00 pm. The Rev. John Pikulski will be the celebrant, and the Schola Cantorum of the St. Gregory Society will sing the Gregorian chant for the service.
The Post-Communion collect from the First Sunday of Advent sums up the purpose of this liturgical season praying “… that we may prepare with due reverence for the coming festival of our redemption.” Providing all of her great feasts with preparatory periods, during Advent the Church prepares us for the twofold coming of Christ; His first coming when He took flesh, which will be commemorated at Christmas, and His second coming mentioned in the gospel reading when we “… shall see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with great power and majesty.”
While Advent does not require obligatory acts of penance, the Church’s liturgy suggests that penance and repentance are the best means of preparation for the coming of Christ. St. Paul admonishes us in the epistle reading to “… cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light …” that we may “… walk… not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy…” Furthermore, the penitential character of Advent is expressed liturgically through the use of violet vestments, the removal of flowers from the altar, the omission of the Gloria, the silence of the organ, etc. In fact, the liturgy during Advent is akin to Lent with the exception that the Alleluia is retained. Therefore, may we use this Advent season profitably in preparation not only for Christmas, but for the eschaton, i.e., the end of days and last things.”
Music for the liturgy to be sung by the Schola Cantorum of the Saint Gregory Society will include the Missa Orbis factor (Vatican edition XI) chant ordinary, the Gregorian proper for Advent Sunday: “Ad te levavi,” the hymn “Condite alme siderum” by Guillaume Dufay (1397-1474), and the Advent prose, “Rorate caeli desuper.”