Lenten Regulations on Fasting and Abstinence
The dual disciplines of fasting and abstinence have a long history in the Catholic Church. Going back to the early Church, the purpose behind the custom of self denial is not punishment; it is to simplify our lifestyles so that we create a certain emptiness. In this way, freed from all distractions, we are able to hear and respond to God’s continued call to conversion and holiness.
Fasting is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all Catholics between the ages of 18 to 59 years (inclusive). On days of fasting, one full meal is allowed. Two smaller meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids are allowed.
Abstinence from meat is to be observed by all Catholics who are 14 years of age and older. Ash Wednesday, all the Fridays of Lent, and Good Friday are days of abstinence.
Note: If a person is unable to observe the above regulations due to ill health or other serious reasons, they are urged to practice other forms of self denial that are suitable to their condition.
Fasting, almsgiving, and prayer are the three traditional disciplines of Lent. The faithful and catechumens should undertake these practices seriously in a spirit of penance and of preparation for baptism or of renewal of baptism at Easter.
REASONS FOR RENEW MY CHURCH IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO
WHY MAKE DISCIPLES
- Thirty-six percent of Millennials claim no affiliation with organized religion.
- Of Millennials who claim to be Catholic, only 17 percent attend Mass on a weekly basis. However, this number doubles when you look at Millennials who attend Mass on a monthly basis.
- Over the past 20 years, the parishioner base in the Archdiocese of Chicago has declined 25 percent, and further declines are likely as younger generations replace older, more faith-focused generations.
- In the past, Catholic young people grew up in a society that was very supportive of faith, and they grew into faithful Catholics through attendance in Catholic schools and regular participation in the life of their parishes. Today things are different: faith is not trusted because it can’t be reconciled with science; people feel they can be spiritual without being religious; and regular practice of faith is not prioritized by families facing so many time pressures.
- We can no longer assume children will grow into an active faith life but, rather, we need to identify new ways of bringing youth to a new relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church.
WHY BUILD COMMUNITIES
- Our parish and school communities today face a number of impediments to vitality—the parishioner bases of many parishes are very small; the number of school-aged children in areas has decreased; there is increased competition from charter and public schools; we have fewer priests; many of our parishes are not sustainable to carry on the mission of the Church; and many parishes and schools have deferred maintenance for many years, resulting in unaffordable capital needs. We know resourcing alone is not enough to meet the needs of our times. Parish and school communities that today are well-resourced and vibrant still face significant challenges.
- Our parishes must provide compelling liturgies that invite people to participate actively in Mass.
- Our parishes and schools must provide true faith formation programs that move beyond catechesis to form true disciples of Christ.
- Our parishes and schools need to reach out to people and invite them to Christ rather than wait for them to come to us.
- Our parishes and schools need to become the field hospitals Pope Francis has called them to be.
WHY INSPIRE WITNESS
- Today’s times call us to put our Catholic faith into action more than ever before.
- The breakdown of the family, growing violence and lack of respect for human dignity, and the social ills of unemployment, racism, and poverty all point to a world in need of witnesses to the compassion and redemption of Christ.
- We must follow Pope Francis’ lead and serve those in need.
St Anselm Roman Catholic Church
6045 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago IL 60637