Emily M. DeArdo

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Catholic 101: Lent bonus! Laetare Sunday and Annunication/Good Friday FAQ

Catholic 101Emily DeArdoComment
Murillo, Annunciation, 1655

Murillo, Annunciation, 1655

So, just like in Advent, Lent has its "halfway" point--Laetare Sunday. This is when the rose vestments can come out, we can have instruments at Mass, and flowers on the altar. "Laetare" comes from the Latin in the introit, "Laetare, Jerusalem!"--Rejoice, Jerusalem! In England, it's also Mothering Sunday--Mother's Day. 

We are at the midpoint of Lent--three weeks left. Next week, we enter what's more formally called "Passiontide"--the two weeks before Easter. In some places, statues will be covered with purple cloth (like at my church), so we are "fasting" from images, in a sense. Our churches become more stark, leading to Good Friday, where there will be no decoration at all in the church (no candles, no altar cloths, etc.). 

I found an interesting question on Facebook the other day: This year, the Annunciation is on the same day as Good Friday. The questioner wanted to know how that worked: do we celebrate both

Nope. The Triduum makes up the three holiest days of the year (we're talking about them next week, FYI). Nothing supplants them. So we don't technically "celebrate" the Annunciation this year--the Liturgical texts are all for Good Friday, and that's the office you'll say, if you say the Liturgy of the Hours. It's the same way that Sunday will bump saints' feast days. But next year, for example, Laetare Sunday is the 26th--so we'll celebrate the Annunciation on its proper day, March 25. 

(Updated: One of my Deacon Friends has told me that we will celebrate the Annunciation--on April 4. Five days before my birthday! :-D)