March 27, 2022: Laetare Sunday

LAETARE SUNDAY is the fourth Sunday in the season of Lent. Traditionally, this Sunday has been a day of celebration, within the austere period of Lent. This Sunday gets its name from the first word of the traditional Latin entrance for the Mass of the day. “Laetare Jerusalem” (“Rejoice, O Jerusalem”) is Latin from Isaiah 66:10.


We will see our priests wear pink! But technically, it is “rose” to tell every Catholic, “rejoice we are almost there” because we have less than 20 days days left before Easter.


(Laetare Sunday) receives its name from the Latin word “rejoice.” Many remember that this is the Sunday when rose (vestment) is worn by the priests. Also when flowers once again decorate what was otherwise a barren sanctuary. The color pink represents a time of joy amid a period of prayer and penance. This is a Sunday of celebration within the austere period of Lent. Laetare Sunday provides us encouragement as we progress toward the end of Lent.


There is nothing political about this. The christian faithful is given this chance to observe this joyful Sunday.


From The General Instruction on the Roman Missal:


The color rose may be used, where it is the practice, on Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent) and on Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent).


“...There was a Roman custom (dating at least from the tenth century) of wearing of flowers to celebrate the victory of spring over winter. This led to the tradition of the pope blessing a natural rose in the eleventh century, and later it became a crafted artificial golden rose, often ornately decorated, which after being blessed would be conferred by the pope to either distinguished persons, churches, shrines or cities. Father Francis Weiser, S.J. explains in further detail:


The meaning and symbolism of the Golden Rose is expressed in the prayer of blessing. It represents Christ in the shining splendor of His majesty, the “flower sprung from the Root of Jesse.” From this ecclesiastical custom Laetare Sunday acquired its German name, Rosensonntag (Sunday of the Rose) (The Easter Book, p. 72).


And this is the translation of the traditional Golden Rose blessing: O Lord, on this day, when the Church exults in Thy name and manifests her joy by this sign, confer upon us through her true and perfect joy and accepting her devotion of today; do Thou remit sin, strengthen faith, increase piety, protect her in Thy mercy, drive away all things adverse to her and make her ways safe and prosperous, so that Thy Church, as the fruit of good works, may unite in giving forth the perfume of the ointment of that flower sprung from the Root of Jesse and which is the mystical flower of the field and lily of the valleys, And remain happy without end in eternal glory together with all the saints....”