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Rose in Advent

18 January 2013

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or would like to add to the answers below.


Your answers

When should we light the pink candle on the Advent wreath? Our vicar lights it on Advent 4 to commemorate the Blessed Virgin Mary. Common Worship says that it should be the Third (Gaudete) Sunday. Which is correct?

With the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), we no longer have common practices that can apply to specific Sundays. I have had a friendly argument about this one every year for as long as I can remember.

The Roman Rite before Vatican II prescribed Philippians 4.4-6/7 as both introit and epistle for the Third Sunday in Advent, starting with the words Gaudete in Domino semper; hence the name Gaudete Sunday. The vestment colour was laid down as "pink or violet". The 1549 Prayer Book moved Philippians 4.4 on, as the epistle for the Fourth Sunday in Advent. So the Roman and Anglican rites offered different Sundays as Gaudete Sunday.

The RCL is used, with minor deviations, by several denominations, and it has a three-yearly cycle. Year C has Philippians 4.4-7 as the second reading for Advent 3; so we have in effect gone back to the old Roman lectionary once in three years. But the second reading on Year B Advent 3 includes 1 Thessalonians 5.16, "Rejoice always" (Semper gaudete), continuing the tradition. Year A, using James 5.7-10 and Romans 1.1-7 for the Third and Fourth Sundays, represents a break with both traditions.

Pink may be regarded as pale purple, and thus represents a pause for rejoicing during a period of preparation and penance. Light blue is the colour for our Lady. Apart from churches still using the BCP, the pink candle should be lit on the Third Sunday in Advent.

Christopher Haffner (Reader)
East Molesey

The liturgical colour is usually called "rose", as the Revd Richard Tillbrook, of Colchester, points out. He has also noticed that we did not include it for Advent 3 on our free wallplanner for 2013. This change from previous years was not, however, intentional. Editor

Your questions

The ASB 1980 has an order for the installation of an abbot or abbess. We know of some C of E abbots, but to which religious house are the abbesses attached?  G. S.

Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG. questions@churchtimes.co.uk



Sun 14 Aug @ 08:48
Malcolm Guite: Poet’s Corner https://t.co/bKWrv0YO7D

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