Penitential Practices in the Season of Lent

With Ash Wednesday coming up this week on February 26, the Universal Church will commence the great Season of Lent, a season of grace. Although Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation, it is highly encouraged that one attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, receive ashes, and if one is able to receive Our Eucharistic Lord in Holy Communion.

What is required on Ash Wednesday is abstinence from meat and fasting, and both are required on Good Friday(April 10) as well.

The following is the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops guidelines on fasting and abstinence from meat as found on the USCCB website <http://www.usccb.org/prayerand-worship/liturgical-year/lent/catholic-information-on-lenten-fast-and-abstinence.cfm

  • Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for
    Catholics.
  • In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence.
  • For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from
    age 18 until age 59.
  • When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.
  • Another sacrificial and penitential practice of Lent is almsgiving. With much that has been spoken about the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal in recent weeks, we have an opportunity to exercise the practice of almsgiving through this appeal. Many thanks to you who have responded to the mailing that you received a few weeks ago, and your participation in this weekend’s commitment weekend. Even in our local community, we can practice almsgiving through the Loaves and Fishes program, the food collection program, etc. Your sacrifices and generosity are
    very much appreciated.

Next Sunday’s article will be on another traditional Lenten practice: Prayer.
May the good Lord bless all of you!