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Fun with Etiquette: Guidelines for Lent


Dear Ms. Etiquette,
With Lent upon us, I am a bit confused about fasting and eating meat on Friday’s. Can you clarify?
– Catholic Lenten Observer

Dear Catholic,
The following are the Guidelines for Lent:

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are the most important penitential days of the Church year. These are days of fast and abstinence. (All Fridays also).
Fasting rule- only 1 full meal/day. Two small meals “sufficient to maintain strength,” are allowed but together should not equal one full meal. Eating between meals breaks the fast, drinking liquids does not. Obliges all Catholics from 17—59 yrs.
Abstinence refers to the eating of meat or warm blooded animals (beef, lamb, chicken, pork, etc.) Under present law, does not include egg or milk products, meat broth or gravies. The rule of abstinence binds all Catholics 14 years or older.
Fasting and abstinence is a serious obligation. Those who work or whose health would be impaired to fasting and abstaining are excused from Ash Wednesday and Good Friday penance.
Self imposed fasting on the other weekdays of Lent is recommended. Abstinence on all Fridays of the year is also highly recommended. The Peace Pastoral of the American Bishops, stating that prayer is incomplete without penance, urges Friday abstinence as something all American Catholics should offer for the sake of world peace.
Faithful are encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Penance during Lent. All faithful who have received 1st Holy Eucharist are obligated to receiving Communion at lease once/yr, ordinarily during Easter Season.
Funeral Masses are not allowed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday. A funeral service outside of Mass can be held on those days with a memorial Mass later.
I hope this answers most of your questions. You may contact your local parish priest for more detailed information.

Irma Wolcott

Irma Wolcott

Irma Wolcott is the owner of Fun With Etiquette. Call her at 956-492-4762 for more information. Website: e-Mail her at: [email protected]

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