Ember Day tempura

From a reader in Colorado:

Dear Fr. Z,

I think you be happy to hear that you were mentioned, not once, but at least twice, in today’s homily in Colorado Springs!

Fr. Stéphan Dupré, FSSP, mentioned your blog in his homily, which covered the upcoming Ember Days while educating his "dear parishoners" (as he refers to us frequently) on the subject.  He also brought up the interesting and little-known (to us "dear parishoners" 
at least) connection between Ember Days and tempura!  That’s fascinating!  I can’t wait to order tempura again and tell the story.


"But Father! But Father!", I can hear you saying, as you throw your chopsticks at the screen.  "Are you telling us that Ember Days have something to do with Japanese food?  You’ve gone too far!"


In the 16th c. Spanish and Portuguese missionaries settled in Nagasaki, Japan.  From their interest in inculturation and out of sensitivity for the ways of the people, they tried to make meatless meals for Embertide, which is a fast time.  They started deep-frying shrimp.  The Japanese ran with and developed it to perfection.  This is “tempura,” again from the Latin term for the Ember Days "Quatuor Tempora".

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. MargaretMN says:

    I wonder how those Jesuits explained that eating fish instead of meat was a form of fasting.

  2. smad0142 says:

    I have heard one Mass said by Fr. Dupre at the FSSP Parish in Littleton CO, Our Lady of Mt.Carmel, before he moved down to the Springs. The one part of his homily that has stuck with my brother since is his habit of calling the congreagation his “dear parishoners.” This post brought back great memories for my family.

  3. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Father Dupre is so “dear” himself. While he was with us at St. Stephen’s in Sacramento, he became a favorite of many. His French accent was quite pronounced (I don’t know if his English has become more clear). Once, after going to him for confession, I couldn’t resist when he said, “Go in peace.” I answered, “Merci, mon Pere.” He actually laughed, albeit quietly. I’m so happy for him in his Colorado Springs apostolate.

  4. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Thanks for that interesting tidbit of information. I’m ordering tempura as soon as possible…

    How oblivious we are to the deep effects of Catholicism on everyday life.

    Deo gratias!

  5. irishgirl says:

    What a cool story about the origin of tempura!

    When I first read it, I thought, ‘what does paint have to do with Ember Days?’ Guess I wasn’t paying attention…. : )

    gloria-that is so funny about using French in your confession to Father Dupre! When we had the FSSP priests come twice a month to Syracuse diocese, there were a couple of Frenchmen who said Mass for us. Sometimes I would use ‘mon Pere’ when addressing them…they were so cool! And one of them, Father Guichard, told me that his brother-in-law in France takes care of the chapel of Notre-Dame de Bermont, which is near Domremy-la-Pucelle, the birthplace of St. Joan of Arc!

    I miss seeing the FSSPs-well, I will see some of them at the Pilgrimage for Restoration Saturday at Auriesville Shrine!

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