Ember Days of Prayer, Fasting & Abstinence & Their Importance in the Abuse Crisis

Kendra Tierney, Catholic All Year / ChurchPOP

There’s been a lot of buzz lately on social media and other Catholic news websites about Ember Days, but what are they?

What in the world are the Ember Days?

Ember Days are “an ancient liturgical tradition that revolves around the changing of the four seasons and consists of 3 days set apart for fasting and prayer,” and are held on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

As Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik recently announced the Year of Repentance, He asked that all clergy abstain from meat and offer a Eucharistic holy hour for the abuse crisis in the Church.

During the Year of Repentance, the Ember Days are as follows:

September 19, 21, 22
December 19, 21, 22

March 13, 15, 16
June 12, 14, 15

Here is a great diagram that will help you remember Ember Days:

Kendra Tierney, Catholic All Year

Fr. Alex Schrenk, a priest in the Diocese of Pittsburg, recently provided an in-depth explanation about Ember Days.

Here’s his Twitter thread:

@schrenk, Twitter
@schrenk, Twitter
@schrenk, Twitter
@schrenk, Twitter
@schrenk, Twitter
@schrenk, Twitter
@schrenk, Twitter
@schrenk, Twitter
@schrenk, Twitter
@schrenk, Twitter
@schrenk, Twitter

(If the images above do not appear, click here for the full thread)

Why are days of prayer, fasting and abstinence important in the midst of the abuse crisis?

The Baltimore Catechism states that”The chief means by which we satisfy God for the temporal punishment due to sin are: Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving, all spiritual and corporal works of mercy, and the patient suffering of the ills of life.”

The saints also spoke highly of this practice, as it is a sure way to purify souls!

St. John Chrysostom said,””Fasting is the support of our soul: it gives us wings to ascend on high, and to enjoy the highest contemplation! ….God, like an indulgent father, offers us a cure by fasting.

St. Basil the Great said, “The fast is a weapon of protection against demons…Our Guardian Angels more really stay with those who have cleansed our souls through fasting.”

Many people are participating or inviting others to join in on the Ember Days. Here’s some examples:

@relevantradio, Twitter
@J____A_G, Twitter
@austinruse, Twitter
@PMadridshow, Twitter

Are you taking part in the Ember Days?

[See also: Secrets of the Saints: The Forgotten Spiritual Power of Fasting]

[See also: The Powerful “Prayer for Deliverance from Evil” Written by St. John Paul II]