Rules for Fasting and Abstaining During Lent

Everyone over 14 years of age is bound to observe the law of abstinence. Abstinence from meat is to be observed on all Fridays within the season of Lent and Passiontide and on Ash Wednesday.

On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, everyone over 18 and up to the beginning of their 60th year is also bound to observe the law of fast. On these two days, only one full meatless meal is allowed. Two other meatless meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one's needs; but together they should not equal another full meal. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, therefore, are the only days of both fast and abstinence.

If possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night) as the "paschal fast" to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, and to prepare ourselves to share more fully and to celebrate more readily his Resurrection. It should be noted also that "the Fridays of the year outside of Lent remain days of penance, but each individual may substitute for the traditional abstinence from meat some other practice of voluntary self-denial or personal penance: this may be physical mortification or temperance or acts of religion, charity or Christian witness."