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December 7, 2020

Suggestions for the Third Sunday of Advent

Suggestions for the Third Sunday of Advent

The Third Sunday of Advent is also known as ‘Gaudete’ Sunday, a word that in Latin means ‘rejoice’ or ‘be merry.’ On this Sunday, the liturgical color also changes from purple to pink, and in the Advent Wreath, the third candle of the same color is lit. However, for many, it may be a bit difficult to express a feeling of joy this year — in the midst of so much hardship, suffering and losses of loved ones.

A little over a month and a half ago, my eldest daughter, Emily, got COVID-19, and a short time later, my daughter-in-law, Raquel, and my eldest son, Alex, were infected too. As a result, everyone in our two-apartment house had to go into quarantine.

A big challenge was that my children Alex, Emily, and Grace, along with me, lead or are part of most of the music ministries in our parish. Due to the quarantine and/or recovering from the virus, we were unable to sing in church for two weekends. But during this time, we received the love and support of our community who brought us food, made trips to the grocery store. Thanks to their love and generosity, we truly lacked nothing. We were also fortunate enough to have backup musicians that could fill in on short notice.

More than 15 years ago, when our pastor Father James, hired me as music director, he asked that I focus not only on playing Masses, but on being a mentor and training other musicians and singers as well. During the two weeks that we were stuck at home, our liturgies did not suffer from a lack of music and were very well accompanied by many servers, pastoral musicians and singers, who serve in the different music ministries of our parish. Those two weeks passed, thanking God the rest of the family did not get COVID-19, and my children, along with my daughter-in-law, recovered without any apparent consequence.

So, in this third week of Advent, we ask God to give us peace in our hearts and to allow us to be joyful even in the midst of challenges and difficulties. Pope Francis proposed that during Advent we invite God to be present in our lives with the prayer: "Come, Lord Jesus."

How many times perhaps do we come to Mass sad or a little discouraged? Yet, after putting ourselves in prayer and taking up our instrument (be it the piano, the guitar or the organ), we are transformed through the Holy Spirit who fills our hearts with love, inspiration and hope. And so, we leave the Church completely renewed after having provided our service. Let us ask: "Come Lord Jesus," and let us be peaceful and joyful in the midst of trials.

Song Suggestions

Prelude:Waiting in Silence” by Carey Landry is a beautiful piece to put your mind in a prayerful mood. Another option is to play an instrumental version of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” adding some improvisations around the melody line. Some parishes may also pray the Rosary before Mass.

Entrance:Emmanuel” by Steve Angrisano is a great choice for this week. Also “Gaudete” by Albert Coppo from the collection El Señor Nos Invita, Vol. 2 is a good bilingual choice.

Responsorial Psalm: This week is one of the rare exceptions when the text of the Psalm does not come from the Books of Psalms, but rather, from the Gospel of Luke. “Magnificat” by Bernadette Farrell, “Magnificat” by Steve Angrisano and Curtis Stephan, and as “Magnificat” by Pedro Rubalcava are good options, the last one being ideal for a bilingual celebration.

Offering:You Have Anointed Me” by Mike Balhoff, Gary Daigle and Darryl Ducote and “On Jordan’s Bank” by Charles Coffin are great traditional choices. “Ready the Way” by Curtis Stephan has become a favorite in our parish during Advent and can also be used for Communion. One bilingual option to consider is “Letanía de Adviento/Advent Litany” by Jaime Cortez.

Communion: Tom Kendzia’s “Endless is Your Love” is a beautiful song for Communion and a favorite in our parish repertoire, while Bob Hurd’s “Ubi Caritas” is a good bilingual choice.

Recessional: For this week, I would like to suggest “Alleluia! Hurry, the Lord is Near” by Ernest Sands and “Save Us, O Lord” by Bob Dufford. Also “Iglesia en Salida/Church on a Mission” by Pedro Rubalcava, Hosffman Ospino and Alejandro Aguilera-Titus from the collection Discípulos Misioneros/Missionary Disciples is an excellent bilingual choice.

Finally, if you work with the Hispanic community in a shared parish, we recommend you take part in Las Posadas from December 16–24. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, it will be safer to celebrate it virtually. Using OCP resource Las Posadas, you can have musicians take turns in a call-and-response style. But remember to ask everyone to mute their microphones (except those who are leading the prayers and music, of course). It will be a great community-building experience!

Have a blessed week!

Silvio Cuellar
Silvio Cuéllar

Silvio Cuéllar was born in Córdoba, Argentina and grew up in Bolivia. He is currently the coordinator of the Office of Hispanic Ministry of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, Associate Editor of the newspaper El Católico of Rhode Island and Director of Music and Social Media at San Patrick Parish in Providence where he conducts choirs in English and Spanish.

He lives in Rhode Island with his wife Becky. They have seven children who share their talents of music by holding concerts, retreats and family worship nights.