Norms Concerning Lenten Practices
and Fast and Abstinence
Diocese of Corpus Christi
Important Dates |
Pastoral Notes |
All Fridays of Lent: are days of abstinence.
February 13, 2013 - Ash Wednesday: is a day of fast and abstinence.
March 29, 2013 - Good Friday: is also a day of fast and abstinence.
Easter Duty: is the obligation to receive Holy Communion between the First
Sunday of Lent and Trinity Sunday.
Fasting binds all Catholics over 18 and under 59 years of age. On days of fast, one full meal is allowed. Two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken in
accordance to each one's needs, but together they should not equal another full meal.
Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and fruit juices, are
Abstinence binds all over the age of 14. On days of abstinence no meat is allowed. When in doubt concerning fast and abstinence, a parish priest or confessor should be consulted.
The following is based on L'Osservatore-Romano, Feb. 20, 1966 (Canon law Digest Vol. 6, pg., 677). It is a sin to fail to observe the Lenten Regulation? The substantial observance of Lent is a grave obligation. L'Osservatore Romano commented that the word substantial was chosen to show the personal responsibility of each one before God to practice penance in spirit and in truth without insisting on the traditional distinctions between grave and light matter in violation of the law. A single violation would not be considered a grave sin. The repeated and habitual violation would certainly be grave. The law on penance also takes into consideration that there may be circumstances when the traditional regulations cannot be observed, such as illness,
travel, work or other demands made upon the person. There still remains the obligation
of divine law to practice penance in some other way according to the particular condition
of the person. In most instances this can be by fulfilling daily tasks at home, work or
school in a devoted manner. Children should be taught penance in this way. Also works of
charity such as giving alms or visiting the sick, or attendance at Lenten Masses and
devotions, such as the Stations of the Cross, can be substituted for the traditional fasting and
abstinence when a person finds he/she cannot observe them.
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