In the old historic church year, the fourth Sunday in Lent was known as Laetare, rejoice. The entrance psalm began “rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad.” The Sunday often fell near the Spring equinox and provided a break in the long purple season of repentance. It functioned like the third Sunday in Advent with its pink candle and theme of joy.
Pius Parsch, (1884-1954) wrote, “This Sunday is a festival of Spring. At least it was in the early church. The first roses were brought to church for a blessing. (Mediterranean springs comes early.) When after a cold winter spring comes to our land like a smiling youth, when in the fields God begins the miracle of multiplying bread, when God spreads a great table from which all creatures can eat their fill, when God lifts the white pall of winter from the earth and restores life in abundance to plants and animals – then Christians have cause to experience heartfelt joy, for they have a presentiment that Paradise is not far away.”