Ember Days – Dates of Observation

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Ember Days – Dates of Observation

For those who have misplaced their reparation booklet or weren’t able to get one, below is an excerpt outlining the tradition of the Ember Days and how the parishioners of Sacred Heart are encouraged to observe it.


Fasting & Abstinence will be a powerful means of reparation during our Nine Month Novena. Accordingly, Sacred Heart will observe communal days of fasting & abstinence known as the Ember Days of the Liturgical cycle. Please make note of the dates and encourage others to take up this practice for the sanctification and good of the Church.

  • March 13, 15, 16 (Lent I)
  • June 12, 14, 15 (Octave of Pentecost)

What are the Ember Days? “At the beginning of the four seasons of the Ecclesiastical Year, the Ember Days have been instituted by the Church to thank God for blessings obtained during the past year and to implore further graces for the new season. Their importance in the Church was formerly very great. They are fixed on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday: after the First Sunday of Lent for Spring, after Whitsunday for Summer, after the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross (14th of September) for Autumn, and after the Third Sunday of Advent for Winter. They are intended also to consecrate to God the various seasons in nature, and traditionally to prepare by penance those who are about to be ordained. Traditionally ordinations would generally take place on Ember Days. The faithful ought to pray on these days for good Priests. The Ember Days were once fast-days of obligation.” (Roman Missal)

“The days of fasting and abstinence of Ember Days, made allowance of one full meal, with meat at the principal meal only, except on Fridays where complete abstinence was required. The Code of Canon Law of 1983 no longer requires the observance of these fasting and abstinence rules for Ember Days. The Ember Days also are no longer universally marked on the General Roman Calendar. In the 1969 Calendar the observance of Ember Days was left to the discretion of the conference of bishops, and can be adjusted and expanded. In the USA most bishops have chosen to not officially observe Ember Days, but in other countries they are observed. While Ember Days are not part of the whole community worship, personal observance at home or small communities is not discouraged.” (Jennifer Gregory Miller – www.catholicculture.org)

View our Reparation Booklet