The Octave of Pentecost and Ember Days

Several times we have discussed the changes to the Liturgical Calendar which came along with the imposition of the Novus Ordo Missae (now known as the “Ordinary Form”) back in 1969. Some of those posts are here, here, here, and here. I usually try to point out periods of divergence between the 1962 and 1969 calendars as they occur throughout the year, as it can be a source of confusion.

One point of divergence is this week, the week we are in right now, the week after Pentecost Sunday. As we discussed at length recently, in the 1962 Calendar (and Missal) we have Pentecost, or Whitsunday, followed by the Octave of Pentecost. This coming up Sunday is Trinity Sunday in the 1962 Calendar; and it begins the third part of the Easter Cycle: the Season After Pentecost, which runs up to the First Sunday of Advent.

In the 1969 Calendar, on the other hand, this past Monday picked up with the 10th Week of Ordinary Time (we’re no longer in “Easter Time” but “Ordinary Time II), although this past Monday was the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. The Sunday following Pentecost Sunday, in the 1969 Calendar, is The Most Holy Trinity.

So, in the 1962 calendar we are in the octave of Pentecost; this octave has been suppressed in the 1969 Calendar, and we are in the second round of Ordinary Time, and the week we happen to be in is the 10th week.

Anyway, one of the other things suppressed in the 1969 Calendar were Ember Days. What were Ember Days? They were these:

ember-days print.png

One of the things we see in the paragraph on Ember Fasts us that they occurred on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday four times a year: After the First Sunday in Lent (Spring), Pentecost (Whitsunday) in Summer, after the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross in Autumn, and after the Third Sunday in Advent (Winter).

Ember Days were suppressed in the 1969 Novus ordo calendar, so they are not found on current liturgical Calendars, and most people these days have never heard of them. But a Bishop can call for them in his Diocese, as Bishop Zubik has done in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Fr. Z, as usual, has a helpful guide for Ember Days.

So, what’s the point? This: In the 1962 Calendar, we are in the Octave of Pentecost with Ember Days this Wednesday through Saturday. In the 1969 Calendar we are in the 10th Week of Ordinary Time.

Curate, ut valeatis!

Ember Days.jpg