Ancient Catholic tradition of Ember days resurrected by Iowa deacon

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May 1, 2015

Deacon Eric Bertrand of Warren County, Iowa, and Deacon Tom Hunkele of Des Moines bless hogs April 10. The Iowa deacons are reviving the ancient Catholic tradition of Ember days. (CNS photo/Kelly Mescher Collins, Diocese of Des Moines) See EMBER DAYS May 1, 2015.

Deacon Eric Bertrand of Warren County, Iowa, and Deacon Tom Hunkele of Des Moines bless hogs April 10. The Iowa deacons are reviving the ancient Catholic tradition of Ember days. (CNS photo/Kelly Mescher Collins, Diocese of Des Moines)

CHARITON, Iowa (CNS) — The ancient Catholic tradition of Ember days has been resurrected in the Diocese of Des Moines by a deacon who serves in rural ministry.

Deacon Eric Bertrand, assigned to Sacred Heart Parish in Chariton and Holy Trinity Parish in Lacona, said he was inspired to reintroduce the prayer and fasting traditions of Ember days while reading Pope Francis’ 2013 apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”).

The pope “talked about reawakening popular devotion,” Deacon Bertrand said. “There was a lot of talking and discernment (among deacons in rural ministry). We started to explore bringing our spirituality out of the church.”

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