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February 10, 2016
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the season of Lent. On this day, we practice the traditional penitential discipline of fasting by denying or limiting ourselves of food. During Lent, Catholics age 18 or older, until the beginning of their 60th year, are obligated to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Fasting means eating only one full meatless meal per day. One may also eat two other meatless meals that are sufficient to maintain strength but together do not equal a full meal. One may also drink liquids, including milk and fruit juice, between meals. If your health or ability to work is affected, you are not obligated to fast. If possible, fast on other days of Lent as well.
We practice abstinence from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. On these days, from the day after one’s 14th birthday, all Catholics are bound by Church law to abstain from meat. For children younger than 14, pastors and parents should form them to have an authentic sense of penance, conversion, and reconciliation.