What Is Laetare Sunday?

Laetare Sunday Definition and Information

pink rose in garden by David Bennett

Laetare Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Lent, and the name Laetare Sunday is taken from the words of the introit, laetare Jerusalem, "rejoice with Jerusalem." In 2023, it falls on March 19.

There is a more joyful tone at this halfway point in the Lenten season. The vestments are often rose-colored (pink). Traditionally, the Apostles' Creed is "handed over" to the catechumens, the last step for those preparing for baptism in the Church at the Easter Vigil.

Laetare Sunday is also called Mothering Sunday, named because a person would visit his "mother church," another name for the church he grew up in, on this day. This day also became connected with visiting one's biological mother on Laetare Sunday.

Various customs developed on this Sunday, including the baking of "mother cakes." These cakes are also called "simnel cakes," and sometimes the fourth Sunday of Lent is called Simnel Sunday.

The Sunday also goes by Refection Sunday, or Refreshment Sunday, named because of the Scripture reading of Joseph feeding his brothers. Finally, the fourth Sunday of Lent is called Rose Sunday because of the papal blessing of the golden rose, a floral spray blessed by the pope and given to a notable person or institution.



Updated 12-12-2018