We don’t often hear this during Lent but this week we do: Rejoice!

The fourth Sunday of Lent is traditionally called Laetare Sunday.  Laetare is one of the Latin words translated as “rejoice.” Similar to Gaudate Sunday in Advent, Laetare Sunday gave us a brief respite from the discipline of Lent because our journey to Easter is now more than half way through.  The vesture for the Mass was rose (not pink!), and the prayers of the Mass were just a bit more hopeful as we move into the even more solemn portion of Lent leading up to Holy Week and the celebration of the Sacred Triduum (Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, the Great Easter Vigil).

We should enjoy this brief rest because we are asked to embrace the discipline of Lent even more fervently as we move into the final weeks of this season of preparation.  If we have been fasting, then perhaps we add a bit more to the fast.  If we have been praying, then perhaps we add more time to our prayer.  If we have been seeking opportunities to performs works of mercy and service, perhaps we double our efforts to assist the hungry, the homeless and the poor in our midst.  Let’s not grow weak, but relying upon God’s grace strengthen our efforts to stay with Christ in the wilderness of Lent.

Let’s continue to pray for one another and ask the Lord to sustain us throughout the rest of Lent.  And as many of us await our vaccination, let’s pray for those who have suffered so much during this pandemic.

Stay well and God bless,

Msgr. John McDermott

Vicar General