The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudate or “Rose” Sunday (for the color of the vestments reserved for this day and Laetare Sunday in Lent). Why? Pope Benedict XVI explains: ‘the Third Sunday in the Season of Advent, is called “Gaudete Sunday”: “rejoice”, because the Introit of Holy Mass takes up St Paul’s words in the Letter to the Philippians where it says: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice”. And immediately after he explains the reason, because “The Lord is at hand” (Phil 4: 4-5). This is the reason for joy… God’s “closeness” is not a question of space and time but rather of love: love brings people together! This coming Christmas will remind us of this fundamental truth of our faith and in front of the manger we shall be able to savour Christian joy contemplating in the newborn Jesus the Face of God who made himself close to us out of love.’
Each year on the Third Sunday in Advent, children in Rome gather with their families in St. Peter’s Square for Benedizione del Bambinelli. The children bring with them the Bambinelli—the Christ Child—from their family’s Nativity scene. At the noon Angelus, the Pope blesses the children, their families, and the figurines they have brought. This year we will unite our hearts with the Holy Father’s and the families gathered with him for the blessing of our own Bambinelli at the conclusion of Mass today.