That is EMBER not "amber".

It is almost Embertide again… this time the "Michael" Embertide…. 23, 25 and 26 Sept[In my original post, I used a calendar with an error.  I have corrected the dates.  There is discussion of this, below.]

If you have access to the TLM in your parish, will you try to attend one of these Masses?

Wnat to know more about Ember Days?

Read HERE for more!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. DKR says:

    I am unable to find anything in the 1962 breviary regarding the ember days, other than simply when they are to be celebrated. Is there any particular form of the office on these days, or is it only in the Mass that they are remembered?

  2. TJV3 says:


    While I think the revival of Embertide is a wonderful thing for both individual observance and for the Church in general, the date of the Michalemas Emberdays seem perenially confusing. While one would expect that they follow directly after Holy Cross Day, I seem to remember that Bl. Pope John XXIII changed the September Ember days to the first full week AFTER Holy Cross day. The 2009 Ordo for the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales seems to follow this, listing the September Ember Days as September 23, 24 and 26. I realize that the observance of the Ember Days and spiritually profiting from the spirit of Embertide is far more important than calculating which week they fall. Nevertheless, if someone or Father Z could clarrify this, I would be grateful

  3. Londiniensis says:

    Britannica states the following:

    in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, four “times” set apart for special prayer and fasting and for the ordination of the clergy. The Ember Weeks are the complete weeks following (1) Holy Cross Day (September 14); (2) the Feast of St. Lucy (December 13); (3) the first Sunday in Lent; and (4) Pentecost (Whitsunday). The current practice is to compute the Ember Days directly as the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday following the third Sunday of Advent, the first Sunday of Lent, Pentecost Sunday, and the third Sunday of September.

    Wiki states:

    … ember days began on the Wednesday immediately following those days. This meant, for instance, that if September 14 were a Tuesday, the ember days would occur on September 15, 17, and 18. As a result the ember days in September could fall after either the second or third Sunday in September. This, however, was always the liturgical Third Week of September, since the First Sunday of September was the Sunday closest to September 1st (August 29 to September 4). As a simplification of the liturgical calendar, Pope John XXIII modified this so that the Third Sunday was the third Sunday actually within the calendar month. Thus if September 14 were a Sunday, September 24, 26 and 27 would be ember days, the latest dates possible; with September 14 as a Saturday, however, the ember days would occur on September 18, 20 and 21 – the earliest possible dates.

    Both these seem to confirm the LMS Ordo, ie 23rd, 25th and 26th September.

  4. Flambeaux says:

    All of the Kalendars and Ordos I have consulted indicate that this year they are on the 23, 25, and 26th of September.

  5. ericc says:

    Traditio has them on the 16th, 18th and 19th.

  6. lmgilbert says:

    My mother attributed both the sexual abuse scandal and the vocations crisis to the supression of the ember days. She had been taught by the Dominicans during the 20’s and the 30’s that the ember days were days of fast and abstinence for priests and for vocations. Is that true?

  7. Londiniensis says:

    ericc, this wouldn’t be the same Traditio that calls the Novus Ordo “Protestant-Masonic-Pagan” and who lionise the bizarre and anti-semitic Fr Denis Fahey? If so any reference material they offer has to be taken “cum grano salis”.

  8. Fr. Z, according to the FSSP, this year’s Ember days are the 23rd, the 25th, and 26th.


  9. Henry Edwards says:

    Traditio has them on the 16th, 18th and 19th.

    Of course, Traditio, being sedevacantist, declines to recognize the action of Pope John XXIII in making the fall ember days a week later than formerly. Whereas — according to my magnificent “Catholic Battlefield Chaplains” liturgical calendar for 2009 — the SSPX loyally follows Blessed Pope John in observing these days on Sept. 23, 25, and 26 this year.

  10. ericc says:

    Yes it’s THAT Traditio! It really should be required reading as we focus on the liberals so much, no I’m not kidding and yes they’re a hoot. Do check out the calender though, it also jives with Fr.Z.

  11. Miles Dei says:

    The reason for the discrepency is due to the change in 1961 in regards to determining the first Sunday (thus, the number of weeks) in a month. Formerly the first Sunday was defined as the one closest to the beginning of the month, but the rubric was changed so that the first Sunday of the month was calculated as the first Sunday actually occurring with that month. Thus, the first Sunday of the month according to the earlier rubrics is August 30 while according to the newer (1961) rubrics it is September 6. This means, then, that the third week in September (in which fall the Ember Days) according to the 1961 rubrics runs from September 20 through September 26.

    The September Ember Days for 2009 according to the 1961 rubrics are September 23, 25 & 26. The September Ember Days for 2009 according to the earlier rubrics are September 16, 18 & 19.

  12. Miles Dei says:

    I forgot to include the relevant rubrics in my prior post:

    1961 Rubrics

    19. The first Sunday of the month means the first one to occur in the month,
    namely between 1st and 7th of the month; the last Sunday is that which immediately
    precedes the 1st of the following month.
    Likewise, in calculating the first Sunday of the months of August, September, October
    and November for purposes of the occurring Scriptural lessons, the first Sunday will
    be that which falls between 1st of 7th of the month.

    19. Dominica prima mensis ea intellegitur, quæ prima occurrit in mense, scilicet
    a die primo ad septimum mensis; dominica autem ultima, quæ diem primum mensis sequentis
    proxime præcedit.
    Item ad computandam primam dominicam mensium augusti, septembris, octobris et novembris,
    ratione lectionum Scripturæ occurrentis, ea dicitur prima dominica mensis, quæ cadit a
    die primo ad septimum mensis.

    Pre-1961 Rubrics

    Tit. IV / 7:Cum autem in Proprio de Tempore dicitur aliqua Dominica esse prima
    mensis, in qua primo ponitur initium libri de Scriptura cum sua historia, id est, cum
    Responsoriis, animadvertendum est, eam dici primam Dominicam mensis, que venit
    in Kalendis illius mensis, vel est proximior Kalendis, hoc modo. Si Kalendæ
    venerint in secunda, et tertia, et quarta Feria, Dominica prima mensis erit que
    præcedit Kalendas, licet veniat in præcedenti mense: si autem Kalendæ venerint
    in quinta, et sexta Feria et in Sabbato; prima Dominica erit que sequitur post
    ipsas Kalendas.
    Dominica autem prima Adventus non sumitur ea, que est proximior
    Kalendis Decembris, sed Festo sancti Andreæ, vel que venerit in ipso Festo.

    My own translation of the above highlighted and most pertinent phrase:
    If the Kalends is on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, the first Sunday of the month
    is that which precedes the Kalends, even if it occurs in the prior month: if the
    Kalends is on Thursday, Friday or Saturday; the first Sunday is that which follows
    after the Kalends.

  13. Wow… getting some good information here!

  14. Tim Ferguson says:

    not only good information, but in a polite and civil tone. See what can be accomplished with polite and civil discourse. More please! Thanks Fr. Z, for providing a forum for such elucidation.

  15. Rob F. says:

    Please allow me to second DKR’s excellent question – is there any way to observe an Ember Day in the Liturgy of the Hours, or is it strictly a missal observance?

  16. ericc says:

    From ‘The Hours of the Divine Office in English and Latin’ v.3, printed by Liturgical Press; Editio Typica, copyright 1964.
    First Sunday of September
    “If the first Sunday falls on September 1 or 2, the month has five Sundays, and the occuring Scripture is read in its entirety, as given in the Breviary.
    If, however, the first Sunday falls on September 3 to 7, then the month has only four Sundays, and that part of the occuring Scripture which is assigned to the fifth week is omitted.”

    The Ember Days are situated in the third week. My bad, sorry.

  17. jrotond2 says:


    You said,”I am unable to find anything in the 1962 breviary regarding the ember days, other than simply when they are to be celebrated. Is there any particular form of the office on these days, or is it only in the Mass that they are remembered?”

    Ember Days are, in essence, Ferial Days of the Second Class (except for those in the Octave of Pentecost). Hence, the Office is the same as a Ferial Day according to the Liturgical Season with the following differences: 1. The Antiphons for the Benedictus and Magnificat are Proper to the day rather than taking the respective Antiphons from the Psalter, 2. The Preces Feriales (as prescribed for all Wednesdays and Fridays in Advent and Lent)are added to the Offices of Laudes and Vespers on all three days except for Vespers on Saturday which are the First Vespers of the following Sunday, 3. the Collects are proper each day, and 4. in public recitation/singing, the penitential posture rubric of kneeling at the collects is followed.

    The Office of a First or Second Class Feast (e.g. St. Matthew on 21 September) supersedes the Ember Office, but the Ember Days are always commemorated if impeded, regardless of rank, because they, like the Ferials of Advent and Lent and all Sundays, constitute what is known in the 1962 rubrics as “Privileged Commemorations”.

    As for Masses, each Ember Day has a Proper Mass assigned to it in the Missale. On Wednesdays, one additional Lesson from the Old Testament is added between the Kyrie and the Collect of the Mass. On Friday, no extra lessons. On Saturday, five additional Lessons are added in the same spot; however, in the 1962 Missale, a Forma Brevior is allowed whereby only one of the five extra lessons is required, the others being ommitted. This latter point I personally loathe, but it is a legimitate rubric.


  18. Rob F. says:


    Thank you very much!

Comments are closed.