Laetare Sunday and our Anglican Patrimony

050What a joyful day at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary this Sunday!   Laetare Sunday, one of two days of the year our priest wears Rose vestments.

And as part of our Anglican patrimony, we had a Simnel Cake blessed on the altar, as well as blessed daffodils handed out to the ladies of the parish and quite the feast downstairs after Mass with a formal tea and recognition of our annual “Mother of the Year” who is our dear Barbara Reid, our Matushka, who will be leaving for Victoria with her husband Fr. Carl Reid after Easter.


While the introit was in keeping with Laetare Sunday, the readings we had were consistent with that of the Roman Church for Lent 4, so Father Carl preached on the readings. A great, thought-provoking, meaty, interesting sermon. And our hymns were utterly sublime today.

Now, I saw this on Facebook on our Dean Father Lee Kenyon’s page about their plans for today:

Mothering Sunday this Sunday. Rose water for the Asperges, roses for the altar, daffodils for mums, three simnel cakes, rose vestments, a parish lunch to include cupcakes with rose decorations (it *is* Refreshment Sunday after all), rosa mystica incense, rosé wine, and part four of the Lent Course, which will be all about relics and reliquaries. I *think* we’ve covered everything…


I brought a bottle of Rose today but we decided to save it for our reception in honor of Fr. Carl and Barb next Sunday following our monthly choral Evensong and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.  I am also tasked with getting an addition bottle of sherry.

Now, Fr. Hunwicke has this to say about Mothering Sunday:

‘Mothering Sunday’ is intimately bound up with the Vetus Ordo liturgical propers for Lent IV, when the Roman Pontiff went to the Basilica of S Crucis in Jerusalem, built upon cartloads of soil from Jerusalem, designed to be ‘Jerusalem-in-Rome’; and the texts were about Jerusalem, the True Jerusalem, the Jerusalem quae sursum est, quae est mater nostra. Wonderful texts; wonderful Biblical exegesis bound up in them. Upon this grew the easy, pleasant social customs of Mothering Sunday. This is a superb example of the combination, within our Christian culture, of high theology, high liturgy, graciously incarnated into popular customs so attractive that they even have the power to survive the demise of the culture which gave birth to them. ‘Inculturation’, and with a vengeance! But none of this had any weight with those who after the Council, ruthlessly, unreflectively, demolished the liturgical foundations upon which this entire superstructure rested.

And, of course, similar points could be made about the Festival of S Valentine. And here I have our beloved Holy Father Pope Francis with me. He had a ginormous gathering of engaged couples organised on that day, and he preached to them about … er … Ss Cyril and Methodius? … the importance of the Cyrillic Alphabet?the necessity of using papal authority to discipline (as S Methodius did) the German bishops?

I think it would be very useful to help the Catholic laity to understand that, when they hanker after Mothering Sunday and S Valentine’s Day, they are in fact manifesting their instinctive, praiseworthy, preference for that liturgical culture which constitutes the ‘bad’, ‘regressive’, Traditional Latin Mass. It is noteworthy that, in the half-century since the Council, the post-Conciliar liturgical texts have not themselves had any apparent power to inculturate themselves into our society and to generate anything similar to what the classical texts had produced. Those who most vigorously promote the new texts seem, in practice, much more determined to ignore the texts they sponsor and to create a parallel calendar of ‘Missions Sunday’, Thingummy-gig Sunday … and all the rest. There so often seems to be something which it is so very much more important to preach about than the lections which the 1960s proudly bestowed upon us when they stole Mothering Sunday away from us.

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7 Responses to Laetare Sunday and our Anglican Patrimony

  1. EPMS says:

    Well, I would add “Divine Mercy” Sunday to the list of Thingummy-jig Sundays we got along without very well. The kitschy picture says everything that needs to be said about it and its complete lack of relevance to anything substantive in either traditional or modern liturgical practice.

  2. Rev22:17 says:


    You wrote: Laetare Sunday, one of two days of the year our priest wears Rose vestments.

    Yes. The norms for the ordinary form of the Roman Rite permit either rose or violet vestments on the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday) and the Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday).

    The reality, however, is that most parishes of the Roman Rite don’t deem it cost-effective to maintain vestments that can be worn only twice per year. Thus, parishes that have a set of rose vestments typically do not replace them when they wear out, instead shifting to the violet option.

    Curiously, I’m informed by an expert in liturgy that the original tradition was to use vestments in a shade of deep blue called “Saram” during the season of advent. This shade of blue is deep enough to fall within the prescription of violet, so many parishes of the Roman Rite have revived this use. The “Saram” here, however, is the same “Saram” as the historical “Sarum Use” of the liturgy — that is, Salisbury, England. Thus, it’s somewhat surprising that the use of Sarum during the season of Advent does not have a significant place within the Anglican patrimony.

    You wrote: While the introit was in keeping with Laetare Sunday, the readings we had were consistent with that of the Roman Church for Lent 4, so Father Carl preached on the readings.

    The gospel readings for Sundays during the season of Lent that appear in Cycle A, which match those of the Tridentine missal, constitute one of the most ancient sequences of gospel readings in the Roman Rite. Curiously, there is a theme to them — and it is NOT repentance, but baptism.

    >> First Sunday of Lent: Temptation in the Desert, Thirsting for the Water of Life

    >> Second Sunday of Lent: Transfiguration, Foreshadowing “Jesus in his Easter Clothes”

    >> Third Sunday of Lent: Woman at the Well, Water of Life

    >> Fourth Sunday of Lent: Man Born Blind, “Wash (baptiso) in the Pool of Siloam (meaning “the one who is sent”)

    >> Fifth Sunday of Lent: Resuscitation of Lazarus; Jesus is Lord of Life

    >> Sixth Sunday of Lent (“Palm Sunday”): Passion of the Lord, into which Believers are Baptized

    In the new lectionary, the readings on the first, second, and sixth Sundays of Cycle B and Cycle C are the parallel accounts from Mark and Luke, respectively, the original readings that are now in Cycle A having been taken from Matthew. There are other readings on the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays in Cycle B and Cycle C, but parishes that celebrate the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) use the readings from Cycle A on these Sundays because the respective Scrutinies of the RCIA are linked directly to the respective gospel accounts.

    You continued: A great, thought-provoking, meaty, interesting sermon.

    Deo gratia! I do wish that more diocesan parishes had that kind of preaching!


  3. Richard Grand says:

    With Corrections
    This is not a crank comment, so please don’t dismiss me. The title of this post refers to “our Anglican Patrimony” as lived in the Sodality of the Annunciation, formerly a Cathedral Parish of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada. As a life-long Anglican, I find this interesting, especially when you refer to the fomer (BCP) Epistle “Jerusalem…is the mother of us all” as having been taken from “us”. Since being part of the Roman or Universal Church is important to you, it seems odd that you would now complain. Just who is “us”? In the 1960s the ACCC did not exist and now there is no “us”, since you are part of the Roman obedience. The use of the Roman or Ecumenical Lectionary that came from it should be something you would applaud as an indication of Roman influence. In the 1960s, the only “us” you could mean would be people in Annunciation who were then in Canterbury Anglican parishes. How many qualify as “us” under that definition? How many were ever in Canterbury parishes? I know that you never were. Do you mean “us” as members of the Ordinariate, or “us” as former Canterbury Anglicans, or “us” as members of the Anglican Catholic Church, or “us” as individual (former) Anglicans?

    • Foolishness says:

      Who’s complaining? I’m rejoicing at the treasures we were able to bring with us. How do you know I was never in a Canterbury parish? My father was an Episcopalian. I went to Episcopalian Sunday school for a while in my childhood.

      • Richard Grand says:

        Good to know, You usually refer to background and personal history in a number of denominations, including Baptist. You seem to have had a conservative (fundamentalist?) influence and some family roots in Orthodoxy. This is helpful. Thanks.

  4. Paul Nicholls ofs says:

    Yes, this is part of “our” patrimony. All of “us” here in Oshawa were, at one time, part of the Anglican Communion, members of “Canterbury parishes” etc. In my case this goes back many generations in England. And yes, our Anglican identity is still quite prevalent in this Ordinariate parish, so I think your comments are a little out of line, my friend. Or at least, they would be in Oshawa.

  5. A Parishioner of St Agatha's says:

    It seems that distance from Canterbury enhances the celebration of Mothering Sunday. We only had flowers!

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