Lent Guidelines



The time of Lent is to be observed by Catholics
as a special season of prayer, fasting, almsgiving
and going to confession preferably in a
communal penance service.
•The rule of fasting states that only one full meal a day
may be taken. Two small meals, “sufficient to maintain
strength,” are allowed, but together, they should not equal
another full meal. Eating between meals breaks the fast, but
drinking liquids does not. The rule of fasting obliges all
Catholics ages 18 to 59.
•Abstinence refers to the eating of meat. Under the present
law, it does not include egg or milk products, meat
stock, soups or gravies. The rule of abstinence binds Catholics
ages 14 years and older. Catholics observe fast and
abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. All Fridays
in Lent are days of Abstinence.
• The substantial observance of the laws of fast and abstinence
is a serious obligation.. Those whose work or health
would be impaired are excused from fasting and abstaining.
Here, the individual conscience can decide if there is a
proper cause to excuse.
•Self-imposed fasting on the other weekdays of Lent is
recommended. Abstinence on all Fridays of the year is also
highly recommended. The Peace Pastoral of the American
Bishops, stating that prayer is incomplete without penance,
urges Friday abstinence as something all American Catholics
should offer up for the sake of world peace.
• Parents and teachers should see to it that even those
who are not bound by the laws of fast and abstinence because
of age are brought up in an atmosphere that is conducive
to a sense of penance.