In the Church, all crucifixes and images may be covered in veils (usually purple, the colour of vestments in Lent) starting on Passion Sunday: “The practice of covering crosses and images in the church may be observed, if the episcopal conference decides. The crosses are to be covered until the end of the celebration of the Lord’s passion on Good Friday. Statues and images are to remain covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.” (Specifically, those veils are removed during the singing of the Gloria.) The veiling was associated with Passion Sunday’s Gospel (John 8:46-59), in which Jesus “hid himself” from the people.
Most Catholic people are used to Mass being conducted in English (or their native language) and rarely think about the fact that Latin remains the official language of the Catholic Church. But occasionally, Latin terms sneak back in as in the case of Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent. The date is moveable as it is dependent on the date of Easter, which changes annually based on lunar activity.
Christian Denominations Use of the Term: The term Laetare Sunday is used by most Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and by some Protestant denominations, particularly those with Latin liturgical traditions like Lutherans.
What Does Laetare Mean? Laetare means “Rejoice” in Latin. The 40 days of Lent are a time for solemnity according to Roman Catholic doctrine, so how is it possible to celebrate during a time for meditative reflection? Quite simply, the church recognized that people need a break from sorrow.
The fourth Sunday was considered a day of relaxation from the normal rigors of Lent. It was a day of hope with Easter within sight. Traditionally, weddings, which were otherwise banned during Lent, could be performed on this day.
Religious Doctrine and Biblical Reference
In both the traditional Latin Mass and even after the shortening of church rituals during Mass with the Novus Ordo, the short chant that is sung prior to the Eucharist is from is Isaiah 66:10-11, which begins Laetare, Jerusalem, which means “Rejoice, O Jerusalem.” Because the midpoint of Lent is the Thursday of the third week of Lent, Laetare Sunday has traditionally been viewed as a day of celebration, on which the austerity of Lent is briefly lessened.
The passage from Isaiah continues, “Rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow,” and on Laetare Sunday, the purple vestments and altar cloths of Lent are set aside, and rose ones are used instead. Flowers, which are normally forbidden during Lent, may be placed on the altar. Traditionally, the organ was never played during Lent, except on Laetare Sunday.
Every Friday during Lent, the Devotion called Stations of The Cross takes place moving around the Parish.
What is Stations of The Cross?
The Stations of the Cross or the Way of the Cross, also known as the Way of Sorrows or the Via Crucis, refers to a series of images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion and accompanying prayers. The stations grew out of imitations of Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem which is believed to be the actual path Jesus walked to Mount Calvary. The object of the stations is to help the Christians faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage through contemplation of the Passion of Christ.
The style, form, and placement of the stations vary widely. The typical stations are small plaques with reliefs or paintings placed around a church nave.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent.
Ashes are ceremonially placed on the heads of Christians on Ash Wednesday, either by being sprinkled over their heads or, in English-speaking countries, more often by being marked on their foreheads as a visible cross. The words (based on Genesis 3:19) used traditionally to accompany this gesture are, “Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.” (“Remember, man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.”) This custom is credited to Pope Gregory I the Great (c. 540–604). In the 1969 revision of the Roman Rite, an alternative formula (based on Mark 1:15) was introduced and given first place “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” and the older formula was translated as “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The old formula, based on the words spoken to Adam and Eve after their sin, reminds worshippers of their sinfulness and mortality and thus, implicitly, of their need to repent in time.
Cardinal John Henry Newman is close to becoming Britain’s first new saint since St. John Ogilvie was canonized by Pope Saint Paul VI in 1976. The last English saints, 40 martyrs of the Reformation, were canonised in 1970. Cardinal Newman, who was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, was born in 1801. He was ordained as a Church of England priest and went on to found the Oxford Movement but converted to Catholicism in 1845. He was later made a cardinal and, after he died at the age of 89, more than 15,000 people lined the streets for his funeral. The cause for his sainthood was opened in 1958 and he was declared Venerable by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1991 after his life of ‘heroic virtue’ was recognised.
“Sincere thanks to all who helped clean and prepare the Churches for Christmas and who took part in the Masses by reading, providing the music and serving at the altar. Thanks also to those who decorated the trees and window ledges at St Mary’s and St Patrick’s and for further donations toward the cost of flowers. Once again you have been so very kind in sending me lovely cards, wonderful and generous presents and for the plentiful Christmas collection. For all this I am truly grateful. (I do try to thank people personally but even after all this time in the parish I don’t necessarily know names but only faces – so if I have missed you, it’s down to my poor memory for names!)” Canon C
There are plenty of Masses to choose from at Christmas in the Parish this year! CHRISTMAS EVE St Patrick’s – Carols 4:00pm followed by Family Mass at 4:30pm St Mary’s – Carols 6:00pm followed by Family Mass 6:30pm (Solemn) St Patrick’s – Christmas Eve Mass 9:00pm (Polish) St Patrick’s – Midnight Mass (Missa Brevis) Carols from 11:40pm CHRISTMAS DAY The Good Shepherd – 8:30am (Dawn Mass) St Mary’s – 10:30am (Daytime Mass) St Patrick’s – Christmas Day Mass (Polish) 12noon