The Rorate Mass is an Advent tradition which takes its name from the opening words of the Introit for the Mass:
Rorate, caeli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum, aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem.
Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour.
As the Mass begins before sunrise, the Church is illuminated only by candlelight. Because the Rorate is a votive Mass to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, white vestments are worn instead of Advent violet.
For the fifth year in a row priests of the Diocese of Charlotte have offered this traditional liturgy. The pictures below are from St. Ann Catholic Church, home to the Charlotte Latin Mass Community. This years Mass was offered by Father Jason Barone, with pastor Father Timothy Reid as subdeacon.
Photo Credit: John Cosmas