Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

Lenten Regulations: 2010

Lent is the 40-day season of penance in preparation for the greatest event in human history: the redemption of the human race by Jesus Christ.

Lent 2010 begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, and ends on Thursday, April 1, followed by the Sacred Triduum, April 1-4.

The following are the regulations for Lent:

All Christians, by the nature of their lives, are obliged to live in a spirit of penance whereby our exterior acts of prayer, self-denial and charity bear witness to the inner values of our Faith.

The Church specifies certain practices of penance during the season of Lent.

1. Self-imposed observance of fasting on all weekdays of Lent is strongly recommended.

2. Catholics are obliged to fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, and Good Friday, April 2.

3. The Fridays of Lent are obligatory days of abstinence.

4. Catholics age 14 and older are bound by the law of abstinence.

5. The law of fasting obliges Catholics from age 18-59.

6. The law of abstinence forbids the eating of meat.

7. The law of fasting prescribes that only one full meal be taken per day; the other meals should be significantly smaller, but in accord with one’s health needs. Fasting assumes avoidance of food between meals.

The “substantial observance” of these laws is a grave obligation; that is:

1. Anyone who neglects all forms of penance, or deliberately shows contempt for the Church’s penitential discipline, may be guilty of serious sin.

2. Occasional failure to observe penitential regulations is not seriously sinful.

3. Proportionately grave circumstances — sickness, dietary needs, social obligation — excuse from the obligation of fast and abstinence, but not from seeking out other forms of penance.

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