Monday, March 5, 2018

Mothering Sunday, May 11

The fourth Sunday in Lent is Mothering Sunday, a day when the Church emphasizes the Family o  It is a time for mothers, in particular.  The traditions at St. Catherine’s are to give a carnation to each mother or adult woman in the congregation at the end of the service and to serve Simnel Cake during the coffee hour.
f God and the Human Family.
The tradition of Mothering Sunday is many centuries old.  It dates back to the time when domestic servants in England were permitted to go home to worship at their home churches and visit their mothers.  According to G.D. Rosenthal, Bishop Wheatley, who wrote a commentary on the Book of Common Prayer in 1720, thought that the idea of Mothering Sunday originated from the Epistle for Mid-Lent Sunday, which refers to Jerusalem as the “Mother of us all.”
When returning home the servants brought gifts for their families.  Often the gift was a cake, from which arose the tradition of the Simnel Cake.  According to Rosenthal, “In shape the Simnel cake resembled a pork pie, but in materials it was a rich plum pudding inside a stiff and hard pastry crust. Simnels were made up very stiff, tied up in a cloth and boiled for several hours, after which they were brushed over with egg and then baked. When ready for the table, the crust was as hard as if made of wood.”  The crusts of today’s Simnel Cakes are made of marzipan and may be decorated with 11 or 12 marzipan balls.  The 11 marzipan balls represent the 12 apostles minus Judas, who betrayed Christ. If 12 balls are used, the 12th one represents Jesus.

Further reading:
For a detailed history of Mothering Sunday see

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