1. Ash Wednesday, March 1 and Good Friday, April 14 are days of abstinence from meat and fasting. (Meat is considered red meat (beef, lamb), poultry (chicken, turkey) and pork. Fish is acceptable to eat.
2. The Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat (canon 1250 – 1253). (See above on what is considered meat.)
3. The observance of abstinence from meat applies to all Catholics 14 years of age and older (canon 1252).
4. The observance of fasting applies to all Catholics 18 years of age and older, but not yet 59 (canon 1252). *A Catholic tradition of fasting is one main meal per day, along with two small meals which do not equal the main meal.
5. Traditionally, Fridays of the year outside the Lenten season remain days of penance where each individual may substitute for the traditional abstinence from meat some other form of penance which might include acts of self-denial, temperance, acts of religion (e.g.: attending daily mass, praying the rosary), charity and/or Christian witness (canon 1250). 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 observances.
The following are some recommendations for voluntary self-denial or personal penance:
- Daily prayer (add some additional time).
- Prayers for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.
- Personal service to the aged or the sick.
- Fasting at least once a week as a way of identifying with the poor and starving of the world.
- Prayer for the Catechumens and Candidates who will be celebrating the Easter Sacraments this year.
- Prayer for peace in our hearts and in the world.