“It was originally a kind of time of preparation for people that were preparing for baptism,” he said. “The feast of the epiphany was a great day in the old calendar, it used to be alighted with the feast of the baptism of the Lord.”
Since it was a time of preparation for those soon-to-be baptized, Fr. Patrick pointed out that “It had more of a feel of Lent to it.”
“There was a kind of rigor again, looking forward to the coming mysteries that were celebrated by the sacraments,” he said.
Jumping forward to the present day, the meaning of Advent is different. It now focuses on the birth of Jesus, and families place an Advent wreath in their home. The Catholic Church also uses different colors to represent the season.
“That deep purple that you see in Advent, that very rich color, is the color of repentance,” Fr. Patrick explained. “It reminds us of the sober and somber character of the season and tells us that we should be preparing not just our homes, not just our surroundings, but our souls.”
The Advent season is not one entirely characterized by somberness, however. Gaudete Sunday represents the midway point of the Advent season and is a Sunday of rejoicing. On Gaudete Sunday, which is the third Sunday of Advent, a rose colored candle is illuminated.