As another Lenten journey of conversion begins on Ash Wednesday, March 5, and ends with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, April 17, Holy Mother Church calls all Catholics to a deeper spirit of penance, fasting, almsgiving and prayer. In order to guide us more closely to Christ, the Church reminds us of the following obligations of fast and abstinence during Lent.
Abstinence: all who have celebrated their 14th birthday are bound to abstain from menat on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays of Lent and Good Friday
Fasting: everyone, from the celebration of their 18th birthday to their 59th birthday, is bound to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting is generally understood to mean eating only one full meal each day. Two other partial meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken; but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids are allowed.
Voluntary fasting: on other weekdays of Lent is highly recommended. When health or ability to work would be serouslyaffected, neither the law of fasting nor the law of abstinence obliges.
Almsgiving: All Catholics are encouraged to support the charitable works of the whole Church through regular stewardship.
Prayer: Catholics are urged to participate in the Sacramental life of the Church during Lent by attending daily Mass and frequent the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.