Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lætare Sunday

Today is Lætare Sunday, the fourth Sunday during Lent, also known as Rose Sunday, and Mothering Sunday. As with other Sundays the name, Lætare, comes from the first words of the Introit, “Lætare Jeruselem” or "Rejoice O Jerusalem!" It is a day that we take a break from the otherwise penitential season of Lent, just like on Gaudete Sunday during Advent. We are reminded that our salvation is at hand, Christ will soon rise from the dead to free us from the slavery of sin, and this austere season of penance will soon be over!! It is also a good day to renew our dedication to this holy season, especially if our Lent hasn't been going quite as we had hoped.

At Mass, the priest may wear rose colored vestments. This custom originated since, as a symbol of joy and hope in the middle of this somber Season, popes used to carry a golden rose in their right hand when returning from the celebration of Mass on this day. In fact, back in 1051, Pope Leo IX called this custom an "ancient institution." Afterward, the pope would often give the rose to a church, shrine, city, or distinguished person as a token of esteem and paternal affection. It was from this tradition that today is sometimes called "Rose Sunday".

The other name for today is Mothering Sunday. It is called this partly because of the focus of the Mass on Jerusalem which is the mother church of Christendom, and is symbolic of the Church, our mother. Many customs have developed around this theme including: visiting your cathedral as the mother church of your diocese, visiting your own parish church where you were baptized or confirmed in (as your own mother church), or even visiting your actual mother and do something nice for her. It is actually very much like a Catholic Mother's Day!!

I read on Catholic Culture that Mothering Sunday "became a feast day for the mothers of families. All the children who were away from home went back on that day to visit their mothers, taking with them "a present of money, a trinket, or some nice eatable, and they are all anxious not to fail in this custom." The "nice eatable" was often a mothering cake. Exactly what this was made of seems uncertain, but at any rate it was highly ornamented and adorned." (Re-posted from last year...)

Last year my boys choose a Strawberry Cheesecake for me, which was delicious!! This year, since we spent yesterday traveling home from California and (once again) would not have time to bake a special cake, we picked up a couple Coffeecakes from my favorite childhood bakery before we left California yesterday!!!! We choose a Pineapple Coffeecake and a German Chocolate Coffee Cake. YUMMMM!!!! They look absolutely delicious, in addition to reminding me of so many joyous occasions from my childhood. Now, since we are home from Mass, I am off to brew a fresh pot of coffee, and to spend a nice, relaxing day at home with my family!

I hope you all have a very blessed Lætare Sunday!


  1. Our priest wore purple today - does that mean he doesn't like his mother? Or does it mean that pink just isn't his color?

  2. I was wondering last night when we went to mass why the church was wearing rose-colored vestments. . . . what a beautiful tradition! We'll have to remember it for next year.


    PS - I am glad that you are back safe and sound!

  3. I mean, the priest wearing rose-colored vestments. . . anyway! :)

  4. Happy Catholic Mother's Day! I found a really cute rose bookmark with a sweet smiling baby on it. I don't know why I feel like you are meant to have it but I do. Since I can't shake that feeling I would love to actually get it to you:o) (maybe it is from St. Therese or something!!) If it is not too off the wall, you can send me your po box and I'll mail it right away. thanks for your great blog! Praise God for you and your beautiful family.

  5. SuburbanCorrespondent ~ I'm not sure.. Hopefully he likes his mother! Maybe his parish only had pink vestments and not rose colored. Fr. Z has some interesting posts on the differences in "rose" vs. "pink". lol!

    Sarah ~ Isn't it great learning about all the traditions in our Church!?! =)

    Anonymous ~ Thank you! That is very sweet of you!


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