Regulations of Fast and Abstinence will apply on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent. Stations of the Cross will be celebrated every Friday following the 11 AM Mass.

Use the following for your reflection:

“Brothers and sisters, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do do everything for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31

Catholic Fasting for Ash Wednesday and Lenten Fridays

Catholics age 14 and older do not eat meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent, including Good Friday. Instead of meat, many Catholics choose to eat fish – which is why many parishes around the country have fish fries on Fridays during Lent. These are great opportunities for a parish community to come together to pray and fast. 

On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, Catholics aged 18 to 59 also limit the amount of food they eat. Only one full meal, and two smaller meals that together do not equal a full meal, are eaten. The best rule of thumb is to make sure your meals are smaller than what you would eat on a normal day – and to avoid snacks. An exemption is allowed for pregnant women and those who need regular meals for medical reasons.

You may have heard the words “fasting” and “abstinence” used when talking about Lent. “Fasting” is the word used when the amount of food eaten is limited. “Abstinence” is when you completely give something up, like meat, for a set period of time. Both “fasting” and “abstinence” play a role during Lent.

The word ‘Lent’ means ‘springtime’ and of course in the northern hemisphere, Lent occurs during, or just before, Spring. It is intended to be a time of preparation for energetic growth. It is a time set aside to renew and prepare ourselves to receive the fullness of the resurrection. Yet before there can be the joy and exuberance of new life, first there must be death – death to selfishness, death to mean-spiritedness, death to anything that serves us rather than others.

To prepare our minds and hearts for the joyous celebration of new life and energy of Easter, we can use Lent as a kind of spiritual makeover time. Personal pledges to forgo favorite foods, fast, give to charity, and extend our prayer time are simple and effective ways to reorientate our hearts from selfishness towards life and love. The Stations of the Cross is an ancient prayer tradition designed to do just this. While it can seem somber and gloomy to meditate on Jesus’ suffering and death, the essence of this prayer is to recognize the ‘cross’ in our own lives so that we, too, may participate in Jesus’ death and resurrection.