Ember Day fasting question

How should one fast on an ember day if one has to engage in more physical activity than usual?

Is fasting on ember days still part of the requirements in the U.S.? I would think that since liquids don’t break the fast that one might “tank up” on liquids with high caloric and nutrient content.

No it isn’t, though it is a wonderful practice to have those few days of fasting each quarter. I intend to at least try to do them this time around.

You’re not supposed to fast to the point where it hinders your work, especially dangerous if you do highly physical labour.

Instead, try ‘fasting’ from something other than food that you enjoy - no recreational tv or internet for the day or something. Spend the extra time in prayer. Or just cut out the one particular type of food that you most like - sweets, meat, coffee or alcohol or something.

Fasting is no longer required on Ember Days. However, if you want to know how to keep the fast properly if you have to engage in physical activity, consult a priest who is familiar with the Traditional Latin Mass and Ember Days.

We’re not excused from fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday without dispensation. I wouldn’t take the initiative to do other penances on those days just because I was engaging in more phyiscal activity than usual.

As if you need spiritual advice on whether it’s desirable to say an extra rosary or two or give up tv for two or three days a quarter :rolleyes: - even if you don’t strictly need to.

Do you think there’s any priest alive who’d say ‘no - you must for your own good keep watching trashy tv and stay away from that dangerous Rosary!’ :shrug:

So, what you’re saying is that if I have to do physical work on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday I can just say an extra rosary in place of the fast? I don’t need to get dispensation? I can just take the initiative to substitute a penance on my own because God will understand?

That was my point about keeping the fast. You must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday unless there’s a medical reason. Substituting an extra rosary for the fast without dispensation from a priest IS A MORTAL SIN!

Ember Days used to fall under the same category as the Ash Wednesday and Good Friday fasts do today. This is why I said a priest should be consulted. It has nothing to do about spiritual advice.

I have no idea why you brought up watching TV instead of praying the rosary. I never said anything about TV in my post.

Please read what I actually post, not what you think I post. I notice you have a habit of taking people’s comments out of context.

The topic of the thread was Ember Days, not Lent. ‘Those days’ I presumed meant Ember Days. Sheesh! Forgive me for thinking you were ACTUALLY discussing the topic of the thread :shrug:

since fasting on ember days is not required, there is no answer to what one should or should not do, except the general Church advice on fasting, that it does not bind anyone whose health would be compromised by the practice, and in fact, should not be done by someone in that circumstance. the rule of St. Benedict refers to fasting times (much stricter than in our day) but also recommends extra food for those doing manual labor, in the fields for instance.

Personally, I recommend keeping all the Traditional Fasts. It is always a good, pious practice to voluntarily fast and abstain on days that used to be required for fasting and abstaining like Holy Saturday, Christmas Eve, and the Vigil of Pentecost. Also, fasting and abstinence were required on Rogation Days and Ember Days.


I was addressing Ember Days. Ember Day fasts had to be kept under pain of mortal sin. This is why I told the OP to consult a priest who is familiar with Ember Days what to do if physical work is involved on those days to keep the fast properly. You can’t substitute a penance on your own on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Why do the same if you want to be faithful to the Ember Day fast. If it’s just extra penance you want to do on those days, then by all means pray an extra rosary, help out at a soup kitchen, visit the sick, or do any other corporal or spiritual work of mercy.

Praying an extra rosary is always good unless it takes away from your obligations.

This is good advice. If one is going to follow the traditional calendar for fasting on Ember Days, then the traditional rules should be followed as well. It is not allowed to make your own substitutions on days of fast, but all that is required is to tell your priest and he will give a dispensation.

This is a very good and timely question.

Archbishop John Vlazney of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon declared June 13, next Wednesday, a special Ember Day in remembrance of those harmed by clergy sex-abuse. This is an archdiocesan wide Ember Day.

Of course you do not have to be in the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon to join us.

Lucybeebee, are you asking because you learned about this and are planning on joining in? (I am NOT asking what diocese you are in.)

I was planning a bread and water fast. I will also go to my regular daily Mass in the morning (at a convent where I pray LOTH Morning Prayer with the sisters) and a special celebration in the evening at my parish.

I think they were just asking what the requirements were- not whether or not they should do them.

Say an extra rosary or something- do what you would do if you were in a similar situation on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday. Think about whether or not you really can’t afford to fast that day. You don’t want to pass out or get sick…(though fasting as the Church defines it usually isn’t that severe)

I like this advice the best and am in agreement. Perhaps refraining from “more physical activity than usual” should be set aside for these days especially if it is recreational.

Without going off topic, could you explain to me what Rogation Days are? Thanks!:thumbsup:


Not a problem :slight_smile:


Thank you for the information. Much appreciated…:slight_smile:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.