2018 Lenten Guidelines Diocese of Des Moines

January 24, 2018


2018 Lenten Guidelines Diocese of Des Moines


Abstinence from meat is to be observed by all Catholics 14 years old and older on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and on all Fridays of Lent.

Fasting and abstinence from meat are both to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all Catholics who are 18 years of age but not yet 59. Those who are bound by this may take only one full meal on those two days. Two smaller meals are permitted if necessary to maintain strength according to one’s needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted. When observed on Good Friday, these practices begin the special Paschal Fast.

The above minimal practices should not be lightly excused during the penitential season of Lent and during the Sacred Paschal Triduum (“Three Days”).

By the threefold discipline of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer, the Church keeps Lent from Ash Wednesday until the evening of Holy Thursday. All of the faithful and the catechumens should undertake serious practice of these three traditions. Commendable, particularly during the other weekdays of Lent, is generosity to local, national and world programs of sharing our abundance, participating in daily Mass and other Lenten prayer and devotions, and the voluntary observance of fasting.

Those faithful, religious, and clergy who are able are encouraged to continue through Holy Saturday the Paschal Fast begun on Good Friday. This anticipatory and festive fast lasts until the celebration of the Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. In the Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, we read in section 110: “…[L]let the paschal fast be kept sacred. Let it be celebrated everywhere on Good Friday and, where possible, prolonged throughout Holy Saturday, so that the joys of the Sunday of the resurrection may be attained with uplifted and clear mind.”