February 25, 2009 is Ash Wednesday,
which marks the beginning of the Season of Lent.
ABSTINENCE: All Catholics who have reached
their 14th birthday are bound to abstain totally from meat on
the following days: Ash Wednesday, all Fridays of Lent and Good
FASTING: All Catholics between their 18th
and 60th birthdays are also bound to observe the Law of Fast
on the following days: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. This practice
involves limiting oneself to a single full meal and avoiding
food between meals. Light sustenance may be taken on two other
occasions in the course of the day.
EASTER DUTY: After they have been initiated
into the Most Holy Eucharist, all the faithful are bound by
the obligation of receiving Communion at least once a year.
This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season, unless
for a good reason it is fulfilled at another time during the
ROMAN CATHOLIC FASTING RULES
Fasting has long served a role in the Catholic
Church, drawing upon the example that Jesus himself set. In
Matthew’s Gospel (4:1-2) Jesus went out into the desert,
fasting for forty days and forty nights to prepare for the trials
ahead of Him. Early Christians fasted as a means of gaining
forgiveness for their sins, usually for the few days leading
to Easter. It was not until the fourth century that Lent lasted
forty days in memory of Christ’s days in the desert and
fasting for that period became a Christian obligation. Following
Vatican II, the rules for fasting in the Roman Catholic Church
changed to what believers follow today.
The importance of fasting in a Catholic’s
life is two-fold. The act of denial involved in fasting is a
form of penance, a pathway for the sinner to seek forgiveness.
But it is also an opportunity to grow closer to God, providing
grace and strengthening a relationship with Him through discipline
and prayer. Fasting can help quiet the mind and heart and allow
God to speak.
The Catholic Church requires Eucharistic fasting
and Lenten fasting. The Eucharistic fasting refers to the hour
before Communion when those who wish to receive the Body and
Blood of Christ must refrain from food and drink (except water).
The Lenten fasting refers to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
On those days, Catholics are expected to eat one regular meal
and two lighter meals, as well as not eat between those meals.
According to the general law of the Church,
Catholics from the age of 14 years to 60 years are obliged to
fast on Good Friday and Ash Wednesday. Any Catholic receiving
Eucharist is obliged to follow the one hour fast. Pregnant women
and people who are ill are not required to fast. If a Catholic
has any other compelling reason precluding fasting, he or she
is encouraged to speak to a priest. At no time should any Catholic
fast to the point of physical endangerment. During Lent, Catholics
are also encouraged to fast in ways other than limiting food.
For example, a Catholic could fast from excessive gossiping
or complaining to form a deeper relationship with Christ.
Catholics often confuse the act of fasting
with the practice of abstinence. These forms of denial are completely
different. Fasting usually refers to the limited consumption
of food. Abstinence is not eating meat (pork, beef, or chicken).
Both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence.
All Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence. Though the Church
has relaxed the rules of fasting, deliberately choosing not
to follow this Lenten precept is still considered a grave sin.
Knights of Columbus Council 10334 LENTEN
will begin again on Friday, February
27th from 5 - 7 p.m. in the Family Life Center. The menu offerings
are fried or broiled fish, hush puppies, coleslaw, green beans,
meatless spaghetti, shrimp ‘n’ grits, salad, and
bread. The Ladies Club will also sell desserts. Come out and
support the Knights of Columbus and the Ladies of St. Joseph.
(Half of the profits made by the Knights at the Fish Frys is
returned to the parish.)
“Hello. While visiting some friends
in Charleston a few weeks ago, I attended your 8 a.m. Mass for
the Baptism of the Lord. Your sanctuary was beautifully simple
and your Mass was lovely. The priest and congregation were very
welcoming. In fact, I’m not sure that I’ve ever
been to a friendlier church. I’ll be sure to come again
next time I am in town. Thanks for making such a special place
for worship. Greg Collins, Lehigh Valley, PA.”
Thank you to all our parishioners for the
warmth and friendship they extend to our visitors and our own
CATHOLIC FAITH REFRESHER SERIES
Father Gabe, Deacon Tom and Linda Baranoski
will teach a Catholic faith refresher series for adults during
If you haven’t had any formal Catholic
education since Confirmation or since you left Catholic school
or you’ve been out of touch with the changes in the Church,
this may be for you! There is no required registration. Attend
all the classes or only those that interest you. The classes
will be offered from 7-8 p.m. each Thursday starting February
26th in the Family Life Center.
Invite your family or friends who may have
been away from the Church. Everyone is welcome!
Call Linda at 556-4611 ext 104 or email her
at email@example.com if you have any questions.
February 26th: The Sacraments
March 5th: The Sanctity of marriage; divorced
March 12th: Grace, sin and reconciliation
March 19th: The Mass - the Liturgy of the
Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist
March 26th: Why Do Catholics Do What They
Rituals, gestures, and devotions.