|Dates for Laetare Sunday, 2004–2010|
2004: March 21
Laetare Sunday (pronounced /liːˈtɛəri/, or /leˈtɑre/ as in ecclesiastical Latin), so called from the incipit of the Introit at Mass, "Laetare Jerusalem" ("O be joyful, Jerusalem"), is a name often used to denote the fourth Sunday of the season of Lent in the Christian liturgical calendar. This Sunday is also known as Mothering Sunday, Refreshment Sunday, Mid-Lent Sunday (in French mi-carême), and Rose Sunday (because the golden rose sent by the popes to Catholic sovereigns used to be blessed at this time). The term "Laetare Sunday" is used predominantly, though not exclusively, by Roman Catholics and Anglicans. The word translates from the Latin laetare, singular imperative of laetari to rejoice.
This Sunday was also once known as "the Sunday of the Five Loaves," from the traditional Gospel reading for the day. Prior to the adoption of the modern "common" lectionaries, the Gospel reading for this Sunday in the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Western-rite Orthodox, and Old Catholic churches was the story of the miracle of the loaves and fishes.
In the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and some Protestant traditions, there may be flowers on the high altar, and priests are given the option to wear rose-coloured vestments at Mass held on this day, in place of the violet vestments normally worn during Lent. This option for priests in the Anglican Church of England is noted in Common Worship. Its use in the Roman Catholic Church is referenced in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Laetare Sunday can fall on any date between March 1 and April 4.
- ↑ The traditional use of rose-pink vestments on this day by Anglican clergy is suggested in the liturgical colour sequence notes of Common Worship of which an on-line version may be found here.
- ↑ The traditional use of rose-pink vestments on this day by Roman Catholic clergy is recorded in the Catholic Encyclopedia which may be viewed on-line here.
- Catholic Encyclopedia: "Laetare Sunday"