By CHRISTINA I. HERMOSO
Manila, Philippines – Catholics observe the fourth and last Sunday of Advent today.
It is the climax of the four-week Advent season leading to Christmas.
Traditionally marked with joyous anticipation for the Nativity of the Infant Jesus, now only three days away, readings, prayers, and reflections in today’s masses will focus on the narratives and events that surround the final theme of the Advent season – The Annunciation of the Birth of Jesus.
Priests in violet vestments will lead church rites that include the lighting of the third purple candle – the symbol of love – in the Advent wreath to emphasize the nearness of the joyous celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ.
The two purple candles that symbolize penance and hope, respectively, as well as the pink candle, that symbolizes joy, will be re-lighted, leaving only the white center candle, which symbolizes Christ.
The white candle will be lighted during the “Misa de Gallo,” the Christmas Eve mass, at midnight Tuesday to herald the onset of Christmas.