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The celebrant and sacred ministers use violet vestments.
The deacon and subdeacon at Mass, in place of the dalmatics commonly used, wear folded chasubles.
With Advent the ecclesiastical year begins in the Western churches.The subdeacon removes his during the reading of the Epistle, and the deacon exchanges his for another, or for a wider stole, worn over the left shoulder during the time between the singing of the Gospel and the Communion.An exception is made for the third Sunday ( Gaudete Sunday ), on which the vestments may be rose-coloured, or richer violet ones; the sacred ministers may on this Sunday wear dalmatics, which may also be used on the Vigil of the Nativity, even if it be the fourth Sunday of Advent.It cannot be determined with any degree of certainty when the celebration of Advent was first introduced into the Church.The preparation for the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord was not held before the feast itself existed, and of this we find no evidence before the end of the fourth century, when, according to Duchesne [ Christian Worship (London, 1904), 260], it was celebrated throughout the whole Church, by some on 25 December, by others on 6 January. Caesarius , Bishop of Arles (502-542), in which we find mention of a preparation before the birthday of Christ ; still, to judge from the context, no general law on the matter seems then to have been in existence.