From the Liturgical Year

Dom Prosper Guéranger, O.S.B.

To-day, again, the Church is full of joy, and the joy is greater than it was. It is true that her Lord is not come; but she feels that he is nearer than before, and therefore she thinks it just to lessen somewhat the austerity of this penitential season by the innocent cheerfulness of her sacred rites. And first, this Sunday has had the name of Gaudete given to it, from the first word of the Introit; it also is honoured with those impressive exceptions which belong to the fourth Sunday of Lent, called Laetare. The Organ is played at the Mass; the Vestments are Rose-color; the Deacon resumes the dalmatic, and the Sub-Deacon the tunic; and in Cathedral Churches, the Bishop assists with the precious mitre. How touching are all these usages, and how admirable this condescension of the Church, wherewith she so beautifully blends together the unalterable strictness of the dogmas of faith and the graceful poetry of the formulae of her liturgy! Let us enter into her spirit, and be glad on this third Sunday of her Advent, because our Lord is now so near unto us. To-morrow we will resume our attitude of servants mourning for the absence of their Lord and waiting for him; for every delay, however short, is painful and makes love sad. The Station is kept in the Basilica of St. Peter, at the Vatican. This august temple, which contains the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, is the home and refuge of all the faithful of the world ; it is but natural that it should be chosen to be witness both of the joy and the sadness of the Church.

The Night Office commences with a new Invitatory. The voice of the Church no longer invites the faithful to come and adore in fear and trembling the King, our Lord, who is to come. Her language assumes another character; her tone is one of gladness; and now, every day, until the Vigil of Christmas, she begins her Nocturns with these grand words: The Lord is now nigh; come, let us adore.

                                          Ch. XXVI.

In that day shall this canticle be sung in the land of Juda. Sion the City of our strength; a Saviour, a wall, and a bulwark shall be set therein. Open ye the gates and let the just nation, that keepeth the truth, enter in. The old error is passed away, thou wilt keep peace: peace, because we have hoped in thee. You have hoped in the Lord for evermore: in the Lord God mighty for ever, For he shall bring down them that dwell on high, the high city he shall lay low. He shall bring it down even to the ground, he shall pull it down even to the dust. The foot shall tread it down; the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy. The way of the just is right, the path of the just is right to walk in. And in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, we have patiently waited for thee: thy name, and thy remembrance are the desire of the soul. My soul hath desired thee in the night: yea, and with my spirit within me in the morning early I will watch to thee.

O Holy Roman Church, City of our Strength! behold us thy children assembled within thy walls, around the tomb of the Fisherman, the Prince of the Apostles, whose sacred relics protect thee from their earthly shrine, and whose unchanging teaching enlightens thee from heaven. Yet, O City of strength! it is by the Saviour, who is coming, that thou art strong. He is thy wall, for it is he that encircles, with his tender mercy, all thy children; he is thy bulwarks, for it is by him that thou art invincible, and that all the powers of hell are powerless to prevail against thee. Open wide thy gates, that all nations may enter thee; for thou art mistress of holiness and the guardian of truth. May the old error, which sets itself against the faith, soon disappear, and peace reign over the whole fold! O Holy Roman Church! thou hast for ever put thy trust in the Lord; and he, faithful to his promise, has humbled before thee the haughty ones that defied thee, and the proud cities that were against thee. where now are the Caesars, who boasted that they had drowned thee in thine own blood? Where the Emperors, who would ravish the in violate virginity of thy faith? Where the Heretics, who, during the past centuries of thine existence, have assailed every article of thy teaching, and denied what they listed? where the ungrateful Princes, who would fain make a slave of thee, who had made them what they were? where that Empire of Mahomet, which has so many times raged against thee, for that thou, the defenseless State, didst arrest the pride of its con quests? where the Reformers, who were bent on giving the world a Christianity, in which thou wast to have no part. where the more modern Sophists, in whose philosophy thou wast set down as a system that had been tried, and was a failure, and is now a ruin? And those Kings who are acting the tyrant over thee, and those people that will have liberty independently and at the risk of truth, where will they be in another hundred years? Gone and forgotten as the noisy anger of a torrent; whilst thou, O holy Church of Rome, built on the immovable rock, wilt be as calm, as young, as unwrinkled as ever. Thy path through all the ages of this world’s duration, will be right as that of the just man; thou wilt ever be the self- same unchanging Church, as thou hast been during the eighteen hundred years past, whilst everything else under the sun has been but change. Whence this thy stability, but from Him who is very Truth and Justice ? Glory be to him in thee! Each year, he visits thee; each year, he brings thee new gifts, wherewith thou mayest go happily through thy pilgrimage; and to the end of time, he will visit thee, and renew thee, not only with the power of that look wherewith Peter was renewed, but by filling thee with himself, as he did the ever glorious Virgin, who is the object of thy most tender love, after that which thou bearest to Jesus himself. We pray with thee, O Church, our Mother! and here is our prayer: Come, Lord Jesus! ” Thy name and thy “remembrance are the desire of our souls: they have ” desired thee in the night, yea, and early in the ” morning have they watched for thee.”

Eutychia and Lucy at the Tomb of Saint Agatha, by Jacobello del Fiore

Eutychia and Lucy at the Tomb of Saint Agatha, by Jacobello del Fiore

                   St. Lucy

          Virgin and Martyr

The mother of St. Lucy suffered four years from an issue of blood, and the help of man failed. St. Lucy reminded her mother that a woman in the Gospel had been healed of the same disorder. “St. Agatha,” she said, “stands ever in the sight of Him for Whom she died. Only touch her sepulchre with faith, and you will be healed.” They spent the night praying by the tomb, till, overcome by weariness, both fell asleep. St. Agatha appeared in vision to St. Lucy, and calling her sister, foretold her mother’s recovery and her own martyrdom. That instant the cure was affected; and in her gratitude the mother allowed her daughter to distribute her wealth among the poor, and consecrate her virginity to Christ. A young man to whom she had been promised in marriage accused her as a Christian to the heathen; but Our Lord, by a special miracle, saved from outrage this virgin whom He had chosen for His own. The fire kindled around her did her no hurt. Then the sword was plunged into her heart, and the promise made at the tomb of St. Agatha was fulfilled.

Reflection – The Saints had to bear sufferings and. temptations greater far than yours. How did they overcome them? By the love of Christ. Nourish this pure love by meditating on the mysteries of Christ’s life; and, above all, by devotion to the Holy Eucharist, which is the antidote against sin and the pledge of eternal life.

Holy Family Catholic Church (Columbus, Ohio) - interior, sanctuary, decorated for Laetare Sunday


    Gaudete Sunday / Rose Sunday

              STATION AT ST. PETER’S

        Privileged Sunday of the Second Class


            Rose or Violet Vestments

     Missa – ‘Gaudete’

The assembly of the faithful is attentive; the chanters intone the Gregorian melody, and the church echoes with these sweet words:

 INTROIT – Philippians 4: 4-6

Gaudete in Dómino semper: íterum dico, gaudéte. Modéstia vestra nota sit ómnibus homínibus: Dóminus enim prope est. Nihil sollíciti sitis: sed in omni oratióne petitiónes vestræ innotéscant apud Deum.

Ps. 84: 2 Benedixísti, Dómine, terram tuam: avertísti captivitátem Jacob.

Gloria Patri.

Gaudate in Dómino semper…

Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in everything by prayer let your petitions be made known to God.

Ps. Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob.

Glory be to the Father.

Rejoice in the Lord always…

In the Collect, the Church asks for the grace of that divine visit, which dispels darkness and brings light. Darkness produces fear in the soul; whereas, light gives courage and joy to the heart.


Aurem tuam, quǽsumus, Dómine, précibus nostris accómmoda: et mentis nostræ ténebras grátia tuæ visitatiónis illústra: Qui vivis.

Incline Thine ear to our prayers we beseech Thee, O Lord; and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation: Who livest.

Second Collect – St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

Exáudi nos, Deus salutáris noster: ut, sicut de beátæ Lúciæ Vírginis et Mártyris tuæ festivitáte gaudémus; ita piæ devotiónis erudiámur afféctu. Per Dominum.

Hear us, O God, our Saviour: and as we rejoice in the feast of blessed Lucy, Thy Virgin and Martyr: so may we learn filial devotion to Thee. Through our Lord.

Apotheosis of the Immaculate Conception with Jesuit Saints

Third Collect for the octave of the Immaculate Conception

Deus, qui per immaculátam Vírginis Conceptiónem dignum Fílio tuo habitáculum præparásti; quæsumus, ut qui, ex morte ejúsdem Fílii tui prævísa, eam ab omni labe præservásti, nos quoque mundos ejus intercessióne ad te pervenire concédas. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum.

O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin didst prepare a worthy dwelling place for Thy Son: we beseech Thee, that as by the foreseen death of the same Thy Son, Thou didst preserve her from all stain, so Thou wouldst grant to us also, through her intercession, to come unto Thee with clean hearts. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.

EPISTLE – Philippians 4: 4-7

Fratres: Gaudéte in Dómino semper: íterum dico, gaudéte. Modéstia vestra nota sit ómnibus homínibus: Dóminus prope est. Nihil sollíciti sitis: sed in omni oratióne et obsecratióne, cum gratiárum actióne, petitiónes vestræ innotéscant apud Deum. Et pax Dei, quæ exsúperat omnem sensum, custódiat corda vestra et intelligéntias vestras, in Christo Jesu Dómino nostro. 



Brethren, Rejoice in the Lord always: again, I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing is more just than that we rejoice in the Lord. Both the Prophet and the Apostle excite us to desire the Saviour: both of them promise us Peace. Therefore, let us not be solicitous: The Lord is nigh, nigh to his Church, and nigh to each of our souls. Who can be near so burning a fire, and yet be cold? Do we not feel that he is coming to us, in spite of all obstacles? He will let nothing be a barrier between himself and us, neither his own infinite high majesty, nor our exceeding lowliness, nor our many sins. Yet a little while, and he will be with us. Let us go out to meet him by these prayers, and supplications, and thanksgiving which the Apostle recommends to us. Let our zeal to unite ourselves with our holy mother the Church become more than ever fervent: now every day her prayers will increase in intense earnestness, and her longings after Him, who is her light and her love, will grow more ardent. First let us say together with her:

GRADUAL – Psalm 79: 2-3, 2

Qui sedes, Dómine, super Chérubim, éxcita poténtiam tuam et veni. Qui regis Israël, inténde: qui dedúcis velut ovem Joseph.

Thou, O Lord, That sittest upon the Cherubim, stir up Thy might and come. Give ear, O Thou that rulest Israel: that leadest Joseph like a sheep.


Alleluia, allelúia. Excita, Dómine, poténtiam tuam et veni, ut salvos fácias nos.  Allelúia.

Stir up, O Lord, Thy might, and come to save us. Alleluia.

GOSPEL – John 1:19-28

In illo témpore: Misérunt Judǽi ab Jerosólymis sacerdótes et levítas ad Joánnem, ut interrogárent eum: Tu quis es? Et conféssus est, et non negávit: et conféssus est:  Quia non sum ego Christus. Et interroga- vérunt eum: Quid ergo? Elías es tu? Et dixit: Non sum. Prophéta es tu? Et respóndit: Non. Dixérunt ergo ei: Quis es, ut respónsum demus his, qui misérunt nos? quid dicis de teípso? Ait: Ego vox clamántis in desérto: Dirígite viam Dómini, sicut dixit Isaías prophéta. Et qui missi fúerant, erant ex Pharisǽis. Et interrogavérunt eum, et dixérunt ei: Quid ergo baptízas, si tu non es Christus, neque Elías, neque Prophéta? Respóndit eis Joánnes, dicens: Ego baptízo in aqua: médius autem vestrum stetit quem vos nescítis. Ipse est, qui post me ventúrus est, qui ante me factus est: cujus ego non sum dignus ut solvam ejus corrígiam calceaménti. Hæc in Bethánia facta sunt trans Jordánem, ubi erat Joánnes baptízans.

St John the Baptist in the Wilderness - Giovanni Baglione

St John the Baptist in the Wilderness – Giovanni Baglione

At that time the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to John, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and did not deny; and he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the Prophet? And he answered: No. They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the Prophet Isaias. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize; if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the Prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water: but there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not. The same is He that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

There hath stood One in the midst of you, whom you know not, says St. John the Baptist to them that were sent by the Jews. So that, our Lord may be near, he may even have come, and yet by some be not known! This Lamb of God is the holy Precursor’s consolation: he considers it a singular privilege to be but the Voice, which cries out to men to pre pare the way of the Redeemer. In this, St. John is the type of the Church, and of all such as seek Jesus. St. John is full’ of joy because the Saviour is come: but the men around him are as indifferent as though they neither expected nor wanted a Saviour. This is the third week of Advent; and are all hearts excited by the great tidings told them by the Church, that the Messias is near at hand? They who love him not as their Saviour, do they fear him as their Judge? Are the crooked ways being made straight? are the hills being brought low? are Christians seriously engaged in removing from their hearts the love of riches and the love of sensual pleasures? There is no time to lose: the Lord is nigh! If these lines should come under the eye of any of those Christians, who are in this state of sinful indifference, we would conjure them to shake off their lethargy, and render themselves worthy of the visit of the divine Infant: such a visit will bring them the greatest consolation here, and give them confidence hereafter, when our Lord will come to judge all mankind. Send thy grace, O Jesus, still more plentifully into their hearts; compel them to go in, and permit not that it be said of the children of the Church, as St. John said of the Synagogue: There standeth in the midst of you One, whom ye know not.

SERMON – The Peace of God – Fr Isaac Mary Relyea

During the Offertory, the faithful should unite in the prayer of the Church, and beg that the captivity, in which our sins hold us, may be brought to an end, and that the divine Deliverer may come.

OFFERTORY – Psalm 84: 2-3

Benedixisti, Dómine, terram tuam: avertísti captivitátem Jacob: remisísti iniquitátem plebis tuæ. 

Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob: Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of Thy people.


Devotionisnostræ tibi, quǽsumus, Dómine, hóstia júgiter immolétur: quæ et sacri péragat institiúta mystérii, et salutáre tuum in nobis mirabíliter operétur. Per Dóminum.

May the sacrifice of our devotion, we beseech Thee, O Lord, be always offered unto Thee: that it may both fulfil the end for which Thou didst institute this sacred mystery, and wonderfully work in us Thy salvation. Through our Lord.

Madonna and Child with St Lucy - Francesco Vanni

Madonna and Child with St Lucy – Francesco Vanni

Second Secret – St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

Accépta tibi sit, Dómine, sacrátæ plebis oblátio pro tuórum honóre Sanctórum: quorum se méritis, de tribulatióne percepísse cognóscit auxílium. Per Dóminum. 

May the offering of Thy consecrated people be accepted by Thee, O Lord, in honour of Thy saints, by whose merits it knoweth that it hath received aid in time of trouble. Through our Lord.

Secret prayer for the octave of the Immaculate Conception

Salutárem hóstiam, quam in solemnitáte immáculatæ Conceptionis beátæ Vírginis Maríæ tibi, Dómine, offérimus, súscipe, et præsta: ut sicut illam, tua grátia præveniénte, ab omni labe immúnem profitémur; ita ejus intercessióne a culpis omnibus liberémur. Per Dóminum.

Receive the saving Victim we offer to Thee, O Lord, on the solemn feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary: and grant that, as we confess that by Thy preventing grace she was kept free from every stain of sin; so, by her intercession, we may be delivered from all our offenses. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord.



Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancta, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus. Qui cum unigenito Filio: tuo et Spiritu Sancto, unus es Deus, unus es Dominus: non in uninus singularitate personae, sed in unius Trinitae substantiae. Quo denim de tua Gloria, revelante te, credimus, hoc de Filio tuo, hod de Spiritu Sancto, sine differentia discretionis sentimus. Ut in confessione verare, sempitiernaeque Deitatis, et in personis proprietas, et in essential unitas, et in majestate adoretur aequalitas. Quam laudant Angeli atque Archangeli, Cherubim, quoque ac Seraphim: qui non cessant clamare quotodie, una voce dicentes:

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, ever-lasting God: Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, are one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in con- fessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out with one voice saying:


Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dóminus Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt cæli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.

COMMUNION – Isaiah 35: 4

Dicite: Pusillánimes confortámini, et nolíte timére: ecce Deus noster véniet, et salvábit nos.

Say to the fainthearted, take courage and fear not: behold our God will come and will save us.


Imploramus, Dómine, cleméntiam tuam: ut hæc divína subsídia, a vítiis expiátos, ad festa ventára nos prǽparent. Per Dóminum nostrum.

We implore Thy mercy, O Lord, that these divine mysteries, by atoning for our sins, may prepare us for the coming festival. Through our Lord.

The Last Communion of St. Lucy

The Last Communion of St. Lucy

Second Postcommunion – St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

Satiásti, Dómine, famíliam tuam munéribus sacris: ejus, quæsumus, semper interventióne nos réfove, cujus solémnia celebrámus. Per Dóminum.

Thou hast filled Thy household, O Lord, with sacred gifts: do Thou ever cherish us always, through the intercession of her, whose festival we are celebrating. Through our Lord.

Postcommunion for the octave of the Immaculate Conception

Sacraménta quæ súmpsimus, Dómine Deus noster, illíus in nobis culpæ vúlnera réparent; a qua immaculátam beátæ Maríæ Conceptionem singuláriter præservásti. Per Dominum nostrum.

May the Sacraments which we have received, O Lord, our God, heal in us the wounds of that sin, from which Thou didst alone preserve the Immaculate Conception of Blessed Mary.  Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord.






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