The Fourth Sunday in Lent is known as Laetare Sunday after the opening words of the Introit at its Mass Laetare, Jerusalem - Rejoice Jerusalem, and is also known as 'mid-Lent' Sunday and is also 'Mothering Sunday' in many countries including the United Kingdom. It is a semi-double Sunday of the first class. The distinguishing feature of this Sunday, in relatively modern times, is the permitted use of rose-coloured vestments. Rose is perceived as a lighter shade of violet and the use of rose vestments developed from the older praxis of a golden rose being given to female monarchs by the pope on this day. Cardinals of the Court of Rome wore rose choir dress too on this Sunday along with the corresponding Gaudete Sunday in Advent. For the rest of Lent Cardinals wore their 'winter violet' cassock, mantelletum and mozzeta (not the violet watered silk of their 'summer' violet). The 'winter' material was of merino but on Laetare Sunday they wore rose watered-silk and, presumably, hoped for mild weather. This practice disappeared during the 1920s.
At Vespers yesterday morning the antiphons and psalms of Saturday were sung. The chapter was proper to the Sunday and the Office hymn was Audi benigne Conditor. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration of the preceding feast of St. Patrick was sung followed by a commemoration of St. Cyril of Jerusalem. The Suffrage of the Saints was omitted due to the double feasts as were the Dominical preces at Compline.
At Mattins the invitatory is, as on the previous Sundays of Lent, Non sit vobis and the hymn Ex more. The antiphons given in the Psalter for Sundays are used. In the first nocturn the lessons are from Exodus and the story of Moses and the Burning Bush. In the second nocturn they are from St. Basil the Great on fasting and in the third nocturn the lessons are a homily of St. Augustine on St. John's Gospel. At Lauds the antiphons, Tunc acceptabis etc., are proper to the Sunday and the second scheme of Psalms sung (50, 117, 62, the canticle Benedictus es, 148). The chapter is proper to the Sunday and hymn is O sol salutis. After the collect of the day a commemoration is sung of St. Cyril of Jerusalem. The Suffrage of the Saints is omitted due to the occurring double feast.
At Prime and the Hours the antiphons, Accepit ergo etc., are proper to the Sunday. At Prime the psalms are 92, 99 (displaced from Lauds) and the first two stanzas of 118. The Dominical preces are omitted and the short lesson is Quaerite Dominum.
Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is not sung. The second collect is of St. Cyril. There is no third collect today. A Tract is sung after the Gradual, the Credo is sung, the preface is of Lent and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino, sung by the deacon facing hte celebrant and altar. As folded chasubles are not worn the organ may be played. In the absence of rose vestments violet ones are worn, the deacon and subdeacon wearing dalmatic and tunicle.
Vespers are of the following feast of St. Joseph with a colour change to white. A commemoration of the Sunday is sung.
In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Vespers yesterday were sung at the same time as outside of Lent, without any commemorations. Mattins is cut down to three lessons. At Lauds there is no commemoration. At Prime the psalms are 53 and the first two divisi of Ps. 118. At Mass there is only one collect. The dismissal is Ite, missa est. Vespers is of the Sunday with a commemoration of St. Joseph.
Art: Jerome Nadal