2018 Lenten Regulations & Admonitions

2018 Lenten Regulations & Admonitions
for the Diocese of Jefferson City

As another Lenten journey of conversion begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2018, and ends with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, March 29, 2018, Holy Mother Church calls all Catholics to a deeper spirit of penance, fasting, almsgiving and prayer, “which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others” (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1434 & 1969).

In order to foster a greater spirit of penance, of reparation for sin, to encourage self-denial, and so guide us more closely in the footsteps of Christ, Holy Mother Church reminds us of the following obligations of fast and abstinence during Lent and also admonishes us all to deeper prayer and worship.

  1. Abstinence: all persons who have already celebrated their 14th birthday are bound to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays of Lent and Good Friday.
  2. 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. But please note: when health or ability to work would be seriously affected, neither the law of fasting nor the law of abstinence obliges.  These are minimal penitential practices and should not be lightly excused.  If in doubt, please consult your parish priest.

Other recommended forms of fasting, as regards alcoholic drink, needless television, video games, internet use, and social entertainment, are of true spiritual value and strongly encouraged.

  1. Almsgiving: The act of giving to the poor, in the most ancient tradition of the Church, is an expression of penance, a witness of fraternal charity, and an expression of Lenten conversion. Therefore, all Catholics are encouraged to support generously the charitable works of the whole Church: through regular stewardship to their parish, support of charities, and their generous response to the diocesan Catholic Stewardship Appeal.
  2. Prayer: In order to deepen one’s love for Christ, Catholics are urged all the more to participate in the Sacramental life of the Church during Lent by attending daily Mass and frequenting the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.

Baptism: Infants are properly baptized on Easter Sunday or during the Easter Season.

Any persons who were baptized Catholic but never catechized and who now wish to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, may be confirmed by a priest at the Easter Vigil (or any other time) only if written delegation is given to the priest by the Diocesan Bishop.  The priest is asked to contact Bishop McKnight in writing well in advance of the Easter Vigil outlining the candidate’s full name; the date and church of baptism, and explain the reason for this request.  Bishop McKnight will gladly consider each pastoral request on an individual basis.

Lent is also a privileged time for celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation, including its communal celebration.  At communal celebrations of Reconciliation, however, general absolution is not permitted by the Law of the Church.

Regarding the Sacrament Of Penance For Baptized Adults Seeking Full Communion With The Church, any previously baptized adult to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church should appropriately celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation before the Easter Vigil.

Wedding Masses may not be celebrated during the Easter Triduum, on the Sundays of Lent, Ash Wednesday, or during Holy Week. Marriages that do take place at other times during the season of Lent should be according to the proper liturgical norms and provisions, mindful of the penitential spirit of the season.   Please note that according to the instructions given in the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, the Gloria is to be sung, or at the very least, recited at all Wedding Masses, including those celebrated during the Season of Lent.  

Funeral Masses may not be celebrated on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, or Holy Saturday, nor on the Sundays of Lent. When pastoral reasons require that a funeral be celebrated on these days, a Liturgy of the Word with the Final Commendation is to be held.

Mass may not be celebrated on Holy Saturday, March 31, 2018, except the Easter Vigil, which may be celebrated only after nightfall.

Easter Duty: All Catholics who have been initiated into the Holy Eucharist are bound to receive Holy Communion worthily at least once during the Easter Season.  Of course, Catholics are encouraged to receive Communion as often as possible, not only during Eastertide.  However, anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before approaching to receive Holy Communion.

About the Author