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Fast and Abstinence During Lent

Catholics ages 14-59 – unless excused due to illness, chronic disease, pregnant or nursing women – are obligated to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (April 7). When fasting, a person can eat one full meal as well as two smaller meals that together do not equal a full meal.

Also, Catholics who are 14 and older are obligated to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent.

Note: St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, falls on a Friday this year. Bishop. Malesic recently wrote, “After prayerful consideration, I am granting dispensation from the obligation to abstain from meat for those who feel it absolutely necessary to be dispensed in order to celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick. I ask that those who exercise this dispensation and eat meat on the Feast of St. Patrick to select another non-Friday day during Lent to abstain from eating meat or to make some offering on behalf of the poor, whether by prayer, fasting or almsgiving.”

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