In case you may have missed it amongst the other things that have been taking place in recent days, today is an Ember Day in Australia.

The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference decided in recent years that the first Fridays of Autumn and Spring should be kept as special days of prayer and penance.

On rogation and ember days the practice of the Church is to offer prayers to the Lord for the needs of all people, especially for the productivity of the earth and for human labour, and to give him public thanks.

(General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar)

Amidst our prayers for the cardinals as they prepare for the papal election, we continue our prayers and offer the sacrifices of our fasting and penance for all those facing the effects of storms, flooding and fire in our country.

See also:

http://www.liturgy.sydneycatholic.org/documents-a-resources/catholicism-101/ember-days

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yimcatholic/2012/12/ember-days-what-they-are-and-where-they-went.html