Tag Archives: Advent

Gaudete Sunday 2018

The Third Sunday of Advent or Gaudete Sunday 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. Father Peter J. Langevin, Parochial Vicar of the Cathedral of St. Patrick, Norwich, will be the celebrant and homilist, and the Schola Cantorum of the St. Gregory Society will sing the Gregorian chant for the service.

Gaudete Sunday marks the midpoint of Advent and, similar to Laetare Sunday in Lent, the penitential character of the liturgy is relaxed; e.g., the organ is played, flowers are permitted on the altar, and violet vestments are replaced with rose.  These externals are easily observable, but less obvious is the significance of some of the texts that the Church has selected for Gaudete Sunday’s liturgy.  For example, verse one from Psalm 84 occurs twice in the Mass propers for the day; first as the Introit verse, and then again as the Offertory Antiphon.  

While the appropriateness of some scriptural verses for proper texts is obvious, other scriptural verses often give the impression that they are generic without a close connection to the feast or season.  To ascertain the rationale behind the selection of a particular psalm verse often requires an understanding of how the psalm is interpreted as a prefiguration of Christ. A note at the head of Psalm 84 in the Douay Bible summarizes the meaning of the psalm as representing “the coming of Christ, to bring peace and salvation to man.” Additionally, The Saint Andrew Daily Missal explains verse one’s reference to the rescue of Jacob’s people from their captivity in Babylon as representing Christ freeing His people from the bondage of sin. With these insights, may our prayerful participation in this Sunday’s liturgy be enriched.

Music for the liturgy to be sung by the Schola Cantorum of the Saint Gregory Society will include the Missa Cum jubilo (Vatican edition IX) chant ordinary, the Gregorian proper for Advent Sunday: “Gaudete in Domino semper,” the Antiphon “Alma Redemptoris Mater” set by Joseph Kempter, and the Advent Hymn, “Veni Emmanuel.”

All in attendance at this Mass are cordially invited to a coffee hour sponsored by the Saint Gregory Society immediately following Mass in the Holy Name Society room in the basement of the school building next to the church.

First Sunday of Advent

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.”

Advent Ember Days 2015

The 2015 Winter Ember Days are December 16th, December 18th, December 19th.

DSC_0554What are the Ember Days?

The venerable observance of the Ember Days, Quatuor Tempora, in Latin, ought to be kept today by Catholics for no other reason to remain in the gesture of gratitude before God. Sadly, however, the Ember Days are sort of defunct in the Catholic Church, generally speaking. There are people in small portions of God’s Kingdom who maintain the liturgical and personal remembrance of what God has done through the beauty of His creation.

The Ember Days were days of fast with partial abstaining from meat as a form of penance. Remembering that fasting was always linked to prayer of giving thanks God for the gifts in nature and asking for the grace of being humble and moderate in our stewardship and use of nature. Likewise, fasting and prayer was linked with an act of charity.

The fasts for Ember Days are known as “Jejunia quatuor temporum,” (“the fast of the four seasons,”). The biblical warrant is Jewish practice of fasting four times a year:

Thus says the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah, joy, and gladness, and great solemnities: only love  truth and peace (Zachariah 8:19).

The Jewish sensibility ought to be ours: prayer, fasting and charitable works to be done with joy and gladness. Sour and cynical people go home! Also, someone might quip that that the Ember days came before the post-modern obsession with ecology divorced from the Divine Majesty. True. So let’s bring the integrity of the Jewish and Catholic faith back to its robust nature!

We know historically that, The Didache, a first century text, speaks of the Christians  fasting on Wednesdays (the day on which Jesus was betrayed by Judas) and on Fridays (the day on which Jesus was crucified) to differentiate from the Jewish custom of fasting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In time the central tradition of the Church at Rome kept the fast only Fridays as a penitential day except during Eastertide.  Yet, in monasteries you will find to this day the retention of Wednesday, too, as a day of penance. Nevertheless, by the third century the Ember days were born.

The first of these four times comes in Winter, after the the Feast of Saint Lucy (December 13) ; the second comes in Spring, the week after Ash Wednesday (date varies) and the third comes in Summer, after Pentecost Sunday (date varies); and the last comes in Autumn, after Holy Cross Day (September 14).

Their dates can be remembered by this old mnemonic:

Sant Crux, Lucia, Cineres, Charismata Dia
Ut sit in angaria quarta sequens feria.

Which means:

Holy Cross, Lucy, Ash Wednesday, Pentecost, are when the quarter holidays follow.

Simply recalled: “Lucy, Ashes, Dove, and Cross.”

An interesting note: by AD 494 Pope Gelasius designated Ember Saturdays as the day to confer Holy Orders. The tradition of the very early Church had the discipline that ordinations be preceded by fast and prayer (see Acts 13:3).

Here is a good article to read on the Ember Days.