Friday, March 21, 2014

Laetare Sunday and the Golden Rose

The fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (March 30 in 2014), is an exception to the general rule of no altar flowers during Lent.  Laetare Sunday is also called Rose Sunday.  Its joyful theme is based on the Latin of the first word for introit for the day. "Rejoice" (Laetare).

On this day, the liturgical color may be rose rather than violet, and altar flowers may be used.

One aspect of Laetare Sunday that is perhaps somewhat less well known is that it is the day for the blessing of the Golden Rose which popes customarily give to some worthy recipient.

Certainly roses are very suitable for this day's altar flower arrangement and often pink or rose colored roses are used. If that is the custom in your local church you will probably want to follow it. An interesting variation, however, might be to use yellow roses in order to associate the theme of the Golden Rose.

Pink and yellow are a good combination, so yellow roses will harmonize with the altar frontal (if used) and the priest's vestment.  Or you might even mix pink and yellow roses for a warm and attractive arrangement.

If you are planning to use pink or rose-colored blossoms but do not have roses at hand, see the post Pink Flowers for Church Decoration for plants available with pink blossoms.

One caveat:  As discussed in the post Altar Flowers linked above, altar flowers are to be placed on the altar shelf behind the mensa (the mensa is the top of the actual altar).  It is absolutely forbidden to place flowers on the mensa itself.

Image:  14th century Golden Rose.  Photograph by Jastrow from Wikimedia Commons.  In the public domain.


KNgo said...

Thank you very much for your blog. I have used it very much since I offered to help with flowers at my parish, as no one really had any concrete "rules" or even preferences with the floral arrangements. I figured there should be some symbolism and color coordination when making an arrangement to fit the liturgical season or feast days, so I'm grateful to have found your site with all of its information!

Marie-Jacqueline said...

Thank you for your comment. I'm glad you find the site helpful. Best wishes for your church flower arrangement endeavors.