What’s with the pink candle during Advent?

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The usual liturgical color for Advent is purple (similar to Lent) to remind us that this is a penitential season.  It is particularly an appropriate time for special prayers and fasting to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ into the world at Christmas.

And it’s not solely a remembrance or anniversary of when Christ was born, but a participation in an actual and ongoing event.  It is a time to spiritually clear out our “stable” – or make room at our inn – to allow Jesus to be born anew in our hearts.  This is something we do continually as Christians, but it is a special focus during Advent.

So why is there one Sunday (of the four) during Advent where we light a pink candle on the advent wreath?  And the priest wears pink or rose (or ‘salmon’ as my priest likes to call it) instead of purple?  That Sunday – the third Sunday of Advent – is called Gaudete Sunday.  Gaudete means “rejoice” and is taken from the beginning words of the entrance antiphon for mass that day.

Gaudete Sunday is a reminder that while Advent is a penitential season, it is also a season of hopeful expectation.  It is a celebration of our Christian Joy – a joy that transcends any trials or suffering we experience in our day-to-day lives.  No matter how hard life gets our joy still overflows.  No matter how many sacrifices we make, we know that they are more than worth it.  Rejoice!

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Fr. Frank December 15, 2009 at 8:18 am

Here’s a good reason for NOT giving a “children’s homily” at Liturgy. Several years back I asked the children of the parish the question which is the subject of this article: “Kids, what do you think the pink candle on the Advent wreath means?” Immediately a 4 or 5 year-old responded, “That Mary and Joseph wanted a little girl!”

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