Lenten Ember Days This Week

March 2, 2020

L’Angélus, by Jean-François Millet

Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of this week bring us the Lenten Ember Days, which always fall on the week after Ash Wednesday. Ember Days are traditional days of fasting, abstinence and prayer, their purpose being to give thanks to God for the gifts of Creation and to ask His grace in using them well. They happen four times a year (the weeks after Ash Wednesday and Pentecost, and the third weeks in September and Advent) in conjunction with the four seasons, as they were traditionally tied to the seasonal cycles of farming and harvesting. The penitential observance of these days is voluntary (except of course for the required abstinence on the Friday of the Lenten Ember Days), but we encourage you to participate as you are able.

Fr. Arnaud Devillers, pastor of Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish, our apostolate in Vienna, Ohio, wrote an informative piece this time last year for our Meménto newsletter regarding the history and liturgical purpose of the Ember Days. One of the interesting items he mentions is the connection between the Ember Days and priestly ordinations, and the possibility of employing the Ember Days as a particular time to pray for priests and vocations. You can read the full article here! +

Mentes nostras, quaésumus, Dómine, lúmine tuæ claritátis illústra: ut vidére possímus, quæ agénda sunt; et, quæ recta sunt ágere valeámus.

We beseech Thee, O Lord, illumine our minds with the light of Thy brightness: that we may see what has to be done and have the strength to do it. 

– Prayer Over the People for Ember Wednesday in Lent