Lenten Guidelines


The following guidelines on observing the Season of Lent are from the Diocese of Buffalo:


All Catholics who have reached their 14th birthday are bound to abstain totally from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent, including Good Friday (April 14).


All Catholics between their 18th and 59th birthdays are bound to observe the Law of Fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. This practice involves limiting oneself to a single full meal and avoiding food between meals. Light sustenance may be taken on two other occasions in the course of the day.


After they ave been initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, all the faithful are bound by the obligation of receiving Communion at least once a year. This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season (March 5, the first Sunday in Lent – June 11, Trinity Sunday), unless for a good reason it is fulfilled at another time during the year.


Catholics are bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year. (Canon 989)


Catholics should be reminded that all other Fridays of the year remain as days of penance, in prayerful remembrance of the Passion of Jesus Christ.


The obligation Catholics have as members of the Church to do penance is a serious one. Furthermore, the obligation to observe, as a whole or “substantially,” the penitential days specified by the Church is a serious one. While no one should hold themselves lightly excused, they should not become unduly scrupulous. Failure to observe individual days of penance is less serious that failure to observe any penitential days at all, or a substantial number of such days.


In the name of peace, and in union with the Bishops of our country, the faithful of this Diocese are invited to add voluntary fasting to the practice of penance during the Fridays of the year. Together with works of charity and service toward our neighbors, this practice would become a sign of our commitment to conversion, reconciliation and peace. (The Challenge of Peace, Art. 298)