Sunday Masses are now at
8:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.
Gaudete Sunday. The third Sunday of Advent, so called from the first word of the Introit at Mass (Gaudete, i.e. Rejoice).
The season of Advent originated as a fast of forty days in preparation for Christmas, commencing on the day after the feast of St. Martin (November 12th), when it was often called "St. Martin's Lent"-- a name by which it was known as early as the fifth century. The introduction of the Advent fast cannot be placed much earlier, because there is no evidence of Christmas being kept on December 25th before the end of the fourth century (Duchesne, "Origines du culte chrétien", Paris, 1889), and the preparation for the feast could not have been of earlier date than the feast itself.
In the ninth century, the duration of Advent was reduced to four weeks, the first allusion to the shortened season being in a letter of St. Nicholas I (858-867) to the Bulgarians, and by the twelfth century the fast had been replaced by simple abstinence.
St. Gregory the Great was the first to draw up an Office for the Advent season, and the Gregorian Sacramentary is the earliest to provide Masses for the Sundays of Advent. Our thanks to New Advent for this information. (Photo is from the collection of the blogger.)