The Fourth Sunday of Lent is called Laetare Sunday. It takes its name from the first Latin word of the Entrance Antiphon for this specific Sunday. Laetare means Rejoice. The Entrance Antiphon is that which is recited and serves as the commencement or beginning of Mass. It is recited unless an Entrance Song is chosen in its place, which is what most commonly happens to begin all Sunday Masses and, in many cases, weekday Masses, as well. For this reason it may be something unfamiliar to most of us, but if you look in the hymnals in our pews and turn to where the Readings for the day are listed or printed you will also see the Entrance Antiphons for each Mass.
Laetare Sunday is when the Church takes a bit of breather from Lenten practice and opens Mass with the Entrance Antiphon, “Rejoice, Jerusalem … Be joyful, all who were in mourning!” – taken from Isaiah chapter 66. For it is on this Sunday that we look with expectation to the great Solemnity of Easter for which we have been preparing ourselves as a Church during the Lenten season. By its anticipation of the joy of Easter, Laetare Sunday is meant to give us hope and encouragement as we slowly progress towards the Paschal Feast.
On both Laetare Sunday and Gaudete Sunday (the Third Sunday of Advent), a priest may wear rose (i.e. pink) vestments since the color rose is used as a sign of the joy that characterizes these two Sundays. The use of rose vestments probably stems from an ancient papal tradition of blessing golden roses that would be sent to Catholic heads of state in Europe on the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
As we move closer to the holiest days of the Sacred Triduum, may we continue being faithful and committed to our Lenten promises of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
As reminders… this Wednesday Stations will be available to pray individually in church since our PSR students will be celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the same time we have been praying the Stations of the Cross.
This Saturday the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available all day from 9 AM through 3 PM at Seven Holy Founders church.
And, next Saturday, March 23rd will be our second and final Fish Fry for Lent, so make sure you don’t forget to come and have dinner out that night right here at Annunciation!
May peace and joy be yours this week!