February 10, 2010 // Local

Fast and abstinence during Lent

Ash Wednesday is Feb. 17
Catholics in the United States are obliged to abstain from the eating of meat on Ash Wednesday and on all Fridays during the season of Lent. They are also obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Self-imposed observance of fasting on all weekdays of Lent is strongly recommended. — U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pastoral statement of Nov. 18, 1966.

Persons between the ages of 18 and 58 are bound by the law of fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday; persons 59 years of age and older are not bound to the law of fasting on these days. All persons 14 years of age and older are bound to observe the law of abstinence during the Fridays of Lent.

The law of fasting, which obliges on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and is recommended on other weekdays of Lent, allows only one full meal a day, but does not forbid taking some food at the other two mealtimes. — Apostolic Constitution of Poenitemini 111, 1 and 2.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades has urged that, according to a long-standing tradition, people try to attend daily Mass during Lent. Other traditional practices, such as Stations of the Cross, rosary, personal prayer and visits to the Blessed Sacrament, are highly encouraged. Concrete sacrifices, however small, for those in need are strongly encouraged. All are asked to pray for those among us who are preparing for Baptism or reception into the Church at Easter time. All are also asked to pray for more young men and women to respond to the call to the priesthood and consecrated life.

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