Cross and Anchors statue in foreground with snow covered campus

December 16, 2021

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent
By Dr. Ron Supkowski '94, Chair of the Chemistry and Physics Department


The third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday of the pink candle. Gaudete means rejoice in Latin, so this week’s reflection is on how community has helped me rejoice.

One of the most rejoiceful communities I have experienced is the chemistry department members and students during senior week. The timespan between the end of formal classes and the awarding of bachelor’s degrees is filled with outward celebrations and inward rejoicing, similar to the outward symbol of the pink candle and the inward joy and anticipation of Christmas.

The week includes a department picnic, dinner and drinks with seniors, and the phalanx of the King’s Community at commencement sharing congratulatory hugs and handshakes with our graduates. These visible and visceral outward celebrations encapsulate the inner joy we feel for the years of perseverance our students revealed to build their mettle as chemists, professionals, citizens, and adults and our anticipation of their ability to confidently face the challenges life will throw at them.

The recent restrictions of the pandemic have brought these into sharp relief. When we could not do these outward events, my inward pride and joy for the students was still felt along with the gratitude for my department members for their dedication to these students, but it was a little harder to feel than in years past.

So if you can’t find your advent wreath, or the set of candles that go in it, you can still be happy with the joy the anticipation of Christmas brings. But if that joy is a bit hard to feel, maybe look for your pink candle a little harder because Jesus knows we are visceral as well as spiritual and those outward signs are part of His gift to us to help our rejoicing.

To read today's readings and all readings this Advent Season, please visit