Published March 3, 2011
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and is a day of universal fasting and abstinence. The following fasting and abstinence regulations are observed throughout Lent:
Abstinence from meat is observed on Ash Wednesday (March 9), Good Friday (April 22) and all the Fridays of Lent by all Catholics 14 years of age and older.
Fasting is observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all Catholics who are 18 years of age but not yet 59 years of age. Those bound by this rule may take only one full meal. Two smaller meals are permitted as necessary to maintain strength according to one’s needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted.
Those who are sick, pregnant, or nursing, or whose health would adversely be affected by fasting or abstinence, should not consider themselves bound by these norms.
During the season of Lent, all Catholics are called to embrace penances and to perform works of charity that reflect a deep desire for conversion of heart. Also they are called to pray fervently for those Catechumens and Candidates who will celebrate the Easter Sacraments with the Church this year. May this Lent lead all to a deeper union in Christ with one another.