Ember Days, Ember Days, It's Embertide for the Catholics...

By Steve Skojec, OnePeterFive

I hope you read the title of this post to the tune of Silver Bells. The Bing Crosby version, naturally.

Have you ever heard about the Ember days, observed for most of the history of the Church prior to the late 20th century? If you haven’t, don’t feel bad. Like many traditional practices in the Church laden with deep meaning, Ember days have been chucked down the Catholic memory hole.

But fear not! This is why God created the Internet: so we can find all the neat things about Catholicism that are worth knowing and sharing.

Today is the first of the December Ember days (no, that wasn’t an echo). For more on the tradition, we go to the ever-informative Fisheaters:

Winter fire. Credit: OnePeterFive.com

Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after Gaudete Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent) are known as “Advent Embertide,” and they come near the beginning of the Season of Winter (December, January, February). Liturgically, the readings for the days’ Masses follow along with the general themes of Advent, opening up with Wednesday’s Introit of Isaias 45: 8 and Psalm 18:2 :

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior. The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament declareth the work of His hands.

Continue reading at OnePeterFive here.

Pope Francis: It's good for young people to study Latin

By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency

Vatican City, Dec 6, 2017 / 10:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a message to the Pontifical Academies on Tuesday, Pope Francis praised the study of Latin, especially for young people, and encouraged scholars and teachers to promote its study as a positive guide for students as they navigate life.

Addressing academics and Latin teachers, the Pope said Dec. 5 that they should “know how to speak to the hearts of the young, know how to treasure the very rich heritage of the Latin tradition to educate them in the path of life, and accompany them along paths rich in hope and confidence…”

Pope Francis’ message was read at the 22nd Solemn Public Session of the Pontifical Academies, which had as its theme, “In interiore homine: Research paths in the Latin tradition.”

Pope Francis at the general audience in St. Peter's Square on Nov. 8, 2017. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

The Pope praised “the theme of interiority, of the heart, of consciousness and self-awareness” which he said is found “in every culture as well as in the different religious traditions.”

“Significantly,” he continued, this theme is “presented with great urgency and strength even in our time, often characterized by concern with appearance, superficiality, the division between heart and mind, interiority and exteriority, consciousness and behavior.”

Continue reading at Catholic News Agency here.

ASK FATHER: Friday penance, abstinence during the Octave of Christmas


By Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, wdtprs.com

From a reader… already…

Is Friday, December [29], a Meat Friday since it falls within the Octave of Christmas?

It is good to see that someone is planning ahead.  As I write we are a fortnight from the day in question.  Ergo, none of you will need to be confused about what’s what on [29] December [2017].

Days (other than Sunday) within the Octave of Christmas are not “heavy enough” (as a “solemnity” would be) to “outweigh” the Friday obligation to do some sort of penance as determined by the conferences of bishops.

In the 1962 Missale Romanum they are “II class”, which corresponds to the newer, non-traditional calendar’s “feast”. In the 2001 Missale Romanum they are categorized as second class, as “feasts”, not as solemnities (as they are during the Octave of Easter).

If, however, you are at a parish named “Holy Innocents”, and the Feast of the Holy Innocents falls on the Friday, you might argue that it is greater due to it being the patronal feast of the parish.  [UPDATE: For more about England and Wales check Fr. Hunwicke’s post HERE.  He mentions exceptions for Boxing Day and, indeed, any Friday in the Christmas Octave.]

Bottom line, the Octave of Christmas does not have the “weight” of the Octave of Easter.  Easter Friday outweighs the penance thing, but Christmas Friday does not.

Continue reading at Fr. Z's Blog here.




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