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Guidelines for Fasting & Abstinence during Lent
The rules about Fasting and Abstinence
Lent began on Ash Wednesday, March 5 and ends on Thursday, April 17. Good Friday, April 18 is a day of fasting and abstinence as was Ash Wednesday.
Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent.
Fasting as explained by the U.S. bishops means partaking of only one full meal. Some food (not equaling another full meal) is permitted at breakfast and around midday or in the evening—depending on when a person chooses to eat the main or full meal.
Abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, milk products or condiments made of animal fat.
Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are not forbidden. So it is permissible to use margarine and lard. Even bacon drippings which contain little bits of meat may be poured over lettuce as seasoning.
Abstinence is required on Fridays during Lent. When health or the ability to work would be seriously affected, ecclesiastical law does not oblige us to fast or abstain.
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