MASS THIS SUNDAY (December 12, 2021)

Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)

12:00 noon, Holy Ghost Church, Knoxville

    Sprinkling Rite:  Asperges me

    Proper Prayers and Readings – online here, leaflet here

               (Angelus 147, Baronius 154, Campion 9)

Order of Mass:   Angelus 838, Baronius 900, Campion 569

Ordinary:  Kyrie, (no Gloria,) Credo III, Sanctus, Agnus Dei

Preface of Advent  (p. 878 in Angelus and Baronius missals, online here)
Final Marian Antiphon:  Alma Redemptoris Mater – from Advent to the Purification

    (Angelus 114, Baronius 119, Campion 947, online here)


8 am, St. Mary Church, Athens 

11:30 am, Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul, Chattanooga

2 pm, St. Mary Church, Johnson City


MASS NEXT SUNDAY (December 19, 2021)

Fourth Sunday of Advent

8 am, Mary Church, Athens

11:30 am, Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul, Chattanooga

12 noon, Holy Ghost Church, Knoxville

2 pm, St. Mary Church, Johnson City



Candlelight Votive Mass of the BVM for Advent

     (Angelus 1029, Baronius 1085)

Saturday, December 11, 2021

6:30 am, Holy Ghost Church, Knoxville



Christmas Day – Saturday, December 25, 2021

8 am, St. Mary Church, Athens

8 am, St. Mary Church, Johnson City

12 am midnight, Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul, Chattanooga

12 pm noon, Holy Ghost Church, Knoxville




            (Angelus 147, Baronius 154, Campion 9)


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

Incline thine ear to our prayers, we beseech thee, O Lord, and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of thy visitation.


Epistle    Philippians 4: 4-7


Gospel    John 1: 19-28



Devotiónis nostræ tibi, quǽsumus, Dómine, hóstia iúgiter immolétur: quæ et sacri péragat institúta mystérii, et salutáre tuum in nobis mirabíliter operétur.

Let the sacrifice of our devotion, we beseech thee, O Lord, be always offered unto thee : that it may both attain the end for which thou didst institute this sacred mystery, and work wonderfully in us thy salvation.



Implorámus, Dómine, cleméntiam tuam: ut hæc divína subsídia, a vítiis expiátos, ad festa ventúra nos prǽparent.

We implore thy mercy, O Lord, to grant that these divine mysteries may expiate our sins and prepare us for the approaching festival.


If you’re thinking about a new (Church) year’s resolution . . . What better preparation for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass than review of these readings and prayers in advance?




This Third Sunday of Advent is called "Gaudete Sunday" because its Introit begins with the joyful words


     Gaudete in Domino semper . . . .

    Rejoice in the Lord always . . . .


Traditionally, this is the only Sunday in Advent on which the organ was heard during the Mass, and when flowers might be seen on the altar. And for this one day the Church relaxes the penitential aspect of Advent a bit with rose (instead of violet) vestments:

Click here for photos of a past Gaudete Mass at Holy Ghost Church




This coming Friday, December 17, we begin the second part of Advent, which in the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours) features the "O Antiphons” that are enshrined in the familiar hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.


These are short prayers recited daily before and after the Magnificat during Vespers (evening prayer), beginning seven days before the Vigil of Christmas (Dec. 24). They are called O Antiphons because they all begin with the letter-word "O" and address Our Lord by one of the Old Testament titles of the Messiah. 


These prayers can be used daily in individual meditation during this period to deepen our preparation for the unfolding mystery of the Nativity.


O Sapientia (December 17)


O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter, suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.


O Wisdom, Which camest out of the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come and teach us the way of prudence.


O Adonai (December 18)


O Adonai, et dux domus Israël, qui Moyse in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.


O Adonai, and Leader of the house of Israel, Who didst appear to Moses in the flame of the burning bush, and didst give unto him the law on Sinai: come and with an outstretched arm redeem us.


O Radix Jesse (December 19)


O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.


O Root of Jesse, Which standest for an ensign of the people, before Whom kings shall keep silence, Whom the Gentiles shall beseech: come and deliver us, and tarry not.


O Clavis David (December 20)


O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israël, qui aperis, et nemo claudit, claudis, et nemo aperuit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.


O Key of David, and Scepter of the house of Israel, that openest and no man shutteth, and shuttest and no man openeth: come and bring the prisoner forth from his prison-house, and him that sitteth in darkness and in the shadow of death.


O Oriens (December 21)


O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.


O Dayspring, Brightness of light eternal, and Sun of Justice, come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.


O Rex Gentium (December 22)


O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.


O King of the Gentiles and the desire thereof, Thou cornerstone that makest both one, come and deliver mankind, whom Thou didst form out of clay.


O Emmanuel (December 23)


O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, expectatio gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.


O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the desire of the nations and the Savior thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God.


The familiar musical version of the O Antiphons



December 15    Ember Wednesday


December 17    Ember Friday


December 18    Ember Saturday


Ember Days are three weekdays (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) traditionally set apart for fasting, abstinence. and prayer. There are four “Ember weeks” each year—one near the beginning of each of the four seasons. The Winter Ember Days are the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of the third week of Advent—which places them just before the beginning of winter on the calendar. (Click here for explanation of the ancient practices associated with Ember Days.)





The Rorate Caeli Mass is a traditional Advent devotion in which the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary for Advent is offered just before dawn, with no lighting other than candles on the altar. Those who attend can expect to be rewarded with a uniquely beautiful Mass. The interplay of light and darkness speak to the meaning of Advent and the coming of the Light of the world.



Photo of the Our Lady side altar taken before Mass, with overhead lights still turned on.


The Mass takes its title, Rorate Caeli, from the initial words of the Introit, from Isaiah 45:8,


Rorate, caeli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum, aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem.


Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour.


(Mass propers: Angelus Missal, page 1029; Baronius Missal, page 1085)


The Rorate Mass is lit only by candlelight. Because it is a votive Mass in Mary’s honor, white vestments are worn instead of Advent violet. In the dimly lit setting, priest and faithful prepare to honor the Light of the world, Who is soon to be born, and offer praise to God for the gift of Our Lady. As the Mass proceeds and sunrise approaches, the church becomes progressively brighter, illumined by the sun as our Faith is illumined by Christ.



The readings and prayers of the Mass foretell the prophecy of the Virgin who would bear a Son called Emmanuel, and call on all to raise the gates of their hearts to let Christ the King enter; asking for the grace to receive eternal life by the merits of the Incarnation and saving Resurrection of Our Lord.


Rorate Caeli Mass at Holy Ghost Church  (more photos here)





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