Wednesday 17 September 2014

Ember Wednesday - The Impression of the Stigmata of St. Francis

Today is the Ember Wednesday in September or, sometimes, referred to as the Michaelmas Ember Wednesday. Traditionally it was a day of fast and abstinence. Today is also the double feast of The Impression of the Stigmata of St. Francis. The liturgical colour of the feast is white.

At Mattins the lessons in the first nocturn are proper to the feast with the responsories from the Common of Confessors. In the third nocturn the eighth responsory is proper to the feast and the ninth lesson is of the Ember Wednesday. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds after the collect of the feast a commemoration of the Ember Wednesday is sung.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Ember Wednesday, the Common Preface is sung and the last Gospel is of the Ember Wednesday.

Private Masses may be of the Ember Wednesday with violet vestments. The Mass texts are proper, the second collect is of the feast and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino. In Cathedral and Collegiate churches there are two Masses. The first, of the feast, is after Terce. There is no commemoration of the Ember Day and the last Gospel is In principio. After None the Mass of the Ember Day is sung without commemoration of the feast. The deacon and sub-deacon wear violet folded chasubles rather than dalmatic and tunicle.

Vespers are of the following feast of St. Joseph of Cupertino with a commemoration of the preceding feast. The liturgy of the Ember Wednesday ends with None so there is no commemoration of it at Vespers.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Ember Wednesday is postponed a week due to the novel way introduced of calculating the first Sunday of the month. Today is a IV class ferial day with the Mass of the preceding Sunday. At Lauds and Low Mass there is a commemoration of the Impression of the Stigmata of St. Francis.


Deacon John said...

My calendar from Tan Books has next Wed. the 24th as Ember Day. How do I find out the correct day?
Deacon John

Rubricarius said...

Deacon John,

The 1960s reform changed the way the Sundays of August, September, October and November are counted. I rather doubt the reformers worked out the implication for the September Ember Days. Previously they always fell on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. With the change so that the first Sunday of September became the first Sunday in September this meant in some years, like this, the Ember Days according to the new rubrics could fall a week later.

Ttony said...

A century earlier, the feast of the Stigmata would have been celebrated with a commem of the Ember Day and its Gospel as last Gospel, though it would still be a day of fast.

Rubricarius said...

Indeed, so it would be identical (from the perspective of Mass, not the Office) to 1939. What was different is that a century ago private Masses of the Ember Day could not be celebrated.

Peter said...

How would the Office have been different a century ago?

Rubricarius said...


At Vespers and Mattins the antiphons and psalms would have come from the Common not from the ferial Psalter. At Lauds the Domincal psalms would have been sung with the addition of Pss. 66, 149 & 150. At Prime Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii would have been sung and at the other Hours Ps. 118 would have been used. At Compline Pss. 4, 30 vv 1-6, 90 & 133.