OUR WEEKLY BULLETIN


  Preview Weekly Bulletin for December 16, 2018

TREASURES FROM OUR TRADITION

 

          Years ago, the trick question on religion quizzes would be to name all the liturgical colors, or the colors of the vestments worn at Mass. Rose is a color seldom seen, used at most two days a year. Today, “Gaudete Sunday,” is one of those days. The name of the day is drawn from an opening verse in the old Latin Mass texts: Gaudete is Latin for “Rejoice!” This year’s Gospel certainly reflects that mood as Elizabeth feels her infant within her leaping for joy at the presence of Mary. Mary’s visit to her aged cousin is an act of compassion between women, as two kinswomen who are bearing children into the world share their joy.

            Some churches retain the custom of having the priest wear rose vestments today, and many will use a rose candle in the Advent wreath. Violet is the official color for Advent and Lent, but many parishes employ different hues for each season, trying to keep them distinct. In medieval times, dye was costly, and poor parishes used unornamented plain cloth for vestments. Dyes were expensive and some colors, particularly purple, difficult to achieve. In England, purple dye was made from mollusks, yielding at best a deep indigo or blue and not the desired violet. Thus, the color of Advent in the British Isles has long been a deep blue, reminding many people of Mary’s presence at the heart of the Advent mystery. That theology is largely unplanned: it’s all because of the clams!

 

 

—Rev. James Field, Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.