|Dates for Laetare Sunday, 2004–2010|
2004: March 21
2005: March 6
2006: March 26
2007: March 18
2008: March 2
2009: March 22
2010: March 14
Laetare Sunday (often in English), so called from the incipit of the Introit at Mass, "Laetare Jerusalem" ("O be joyful, Jerusalem"), is a name often used to denote the fourth Sunday of the season of Lent in the Christian liturgical calendar. This Sunday is also known as Mothering Sunday, Refreshment Sunday, Mid-Lent Sunday (in French mi-carême), and Rose Sunday, because the golden rose sent by the popes to Catholic sovereigns, used to be blessed at this time. The term "Laetare Sunday" is used predominantly, though not exclusively, by Roman Catholics.
This Sunday was also once known as "the Sunday of the Five Loaves," from the traditional Gospel reading for the day. Prior to the adoption of the modern "common" lectionaries, the Gospel reading for this Sunday in the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Western-rite Orthodox, and Old Catholic churches was the story of the miracle of the loaves and fishes.
In the Roman Catholic Church and some High Church Anglican and Protestant traditions, there are flowers on the high altar, and priests are given the option to wear rose-coloured vestments at mass held on this day, in place of the purple vestments normally worn during Lent.