This Sunday is rejoicing (or Gaudate) Sunday, marking the end of the first part of Advent, and the start of a new, more intensive period for the liturgy.
If you are saying the Office, you will need to keep your wits about you, as this is as complicated as it gets! In particular, each day from Monday:
- the psalms have a set of antiphons for the day of the week (ie, Monday in the period December 17-23, Tuesday in the period December 17-23), etc;
- at Lauds, the Benedictus antiphon is generally for the day of Advent (so this year Monday etc in the third week of Advent), but with specific antiphons to be said on December 21 and the last day of Advent, December 23;
- at Vespers, the Magnificat antiphons are the great 'O Antiphons' which are set by the date (ie December 17, December 17, etc).
Wednesday and Saturday are the Ember Days of Advent, traditionally days of fasting and abstinence.
The only saint's feast celebrated this week is of the apostle St Thomas, on Friday.
The week in the Benedictine calendar
Sunday 16 December – Third Sunday in Advent, Class I (Gaudete Sunday)
Monday 17 December – Monday in the third week of Advent, Class II
Tuesday 18 December – Tuesday in the third week of Advent, Class II
Wednesday 19 December – Ember Wednesday of Advent, Class II
Thursday 20 December – Thursday in the third week of Advent, Class II
Friday 21 December – St Thomas, Apostle, Class II; commemoration of Ember Friday in Advent
Saturday 22 December – Ember Saturday in Advent, Class II