“The Christian faithful, during Lent, are clearly conscious of the need to turn our minds toward
those realities which really count, which require Gospel commitment and integrity of life which,
through self denial of those things which are superfluous, are translated into good works and
solidarity with the poor and needy" (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, #125).
In addition to choosing their own penitential practices, Catholics are also asked to observe the
practices of fast and abstinence during the 40 days of Lent. The Lenten Fast and Abstinence
Regulations are as follows:
Everyone 14 years of age or over is bound to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all
the Fridays of Lent.
All from the age of 18 years up to the beginning of their 60th year are bound to fast on Ash
Wednesday and Good Friday.
On these two days of fast and abstinence, only one full meatless meal is allowed. Two other
meatless meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one’s needs,
but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted
on these two days, but liquids, including milk and fruit juices are allowed. When health or
ability to work would be seriously affected, the law does not oblige.
To disregard completely the law of fast and abstinence is seriously sinful.
Lent is the principal season of penance in the Church year. All of the faithful are strongly
urged to develop and follow a program of voluntary self-denial (in addition to following the
Lenten regulations), serious prayer, and a performance of works of charity and mercy.