Bishop Michael Sheridan is encouraging the observance of EMBER DAYS as days of
reparation and prayer for the purification of the Church and her priests and bishops.
The next EMBER DAYS will take place March 13, 15 and 16.
In case you are not familiar with Ember Days, I found this picture and explanation on the web from Kendra, a Catholic Wife and Mother https://catholicallyear.com/blog/ember-days-in-case-you-were-starting-to/
The Ember Days are four sets of three days of penance, one set at the beginning of each season.
They occur on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of the same week.
Wednesday is memory of Judas’ betrayal.
Friday is in memory of the crucifixion.
Saturday is in memory of the tomb.
The individual feast days aren’t involved with the penance, they’re just reminders of when the Ember Days fall (although two of the feast days are penitential in themselves).
The winter Ember Days follow St. Lucy’s Day (December 13th) and are offered in thanksgiving for the olive harvest, which gives us holy oils.
The spring Ember Days follow Ash Wednesday (movable, forty-six days before Easter) and are offered in thanksgiving for the flowers, which feed the bees, who make the wax, that gives us the altar candles.
The summer Ember Days follow Pentecost (movable, the eighth Sunday after Easter) and are offered in thanksgiving for the wheat harvest, which gives us the Eucharist.
The fall Ember Days follow the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14th) and are offered in thanksgiving for the grape harvest, which gives us the Precious Blood.
If the feast day falls on a Wednesday, the Ember Days begin on the following Wednesday.
The penance is traditionally fasting on Wednesday and Saturday, and fasting and abstinence from meat on Friday.
Current fasting norms in the U.S. permit one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal.
Abstinence is binding from age fourteen. Fasting is binding from age eighteen to fifty-nine (except for those exempt for reasons of age or health).
Until 1966, the Ember Days were a required observation for all Catholics (except for those exempt for reasons of age or health).
Since 1966, observation is up to the discretion of the bishops. In the US, observation is recommended, but not mandatory.
Although the observance of Ember Days is not mandatory, Let’s follow the encouragement from Bishop Sheridan to observe EMBER DAYS as days of reparation and prayer for the purification of the Church and her priests and bishops!