Monday, February 2, 2009

Lent Draws Near

It seems like we fly through the Church seasons. We barely finish with Advent, and then it's the Christmas season for a few weeks. A little over a month later, Ash Wednesday is upon us and then it's 7 weeks of Lent, then the Easter Triudum, then eight weeks for the Easter season until Pentecost. I always look forward to these seasons because sometimes I think ordinary time gets to be a tad boring. It's fun to see the Church decorated for each event and it always seems to bring new life into our Churches.

I know you've seen these before, but here is a refresher on the guildelines for fast and abstinence during Lent. Ash Wednesday falls on February 22 this year, with Easter falling on April 9.

ABSTINENCE: Abstinence is a penitential practice consisting of refraining from the consumption of meat and is to be observed by all Catholics who are 14 years of age and older. Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and the Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence. Pastors and parents are encouraged to see that children who are not bound by the obligation to fast and abstain are led to appreciate an authentic sense of penance.

FAST & ABSTINENCE: In addition to abstinence, fasting is to be observed by all Catholics between the ages of 18-59 years (inclusive). On days of fasting, one full meal is allowed. Two smaller meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to one's needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids are allowed. Note: If a person is unable to observe the above regulations due to ill health or other serious reasons, they are urged to practice other forms of self-denial that are suitable to their condition.

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