During Lent the Christian faithful are to do penance through prayer, fasting, abstinence and by exercising works of piety and charity. All Fridays through the year, and especially during Lent, are penitential days.
Sundays in Lent are not considered part of the Lenten observance because each Sunday we continue to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Each Sunday is like a mini-Easter.
All who have reached their 14th birthday are to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and on all Fridays during Lent.
The Catholic Church, in an attempt to help Catholics do at least a minimum during Lent, asks all Catholics to fast and abstain from meat on certain days. Fasting means to limit food to one full meal a day with the possibility of two smaller meals (not adding up to a full meal) as needed. Abstinence means not eating meat, although fish is allowed. Catholics are asked to observe all days of fasting and abstience which is one of the precepts of the Church.
Catholics 14 years of age or older are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent. Catholics between the ages of 14 and 59 are also to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. If one’s work or health make it inadvisable to fast or abstain from meat, they are not obligated to do so.
At one time, people gave up all dairy products and meat during all of the Lenten season. Since chickens continue to produce eggs and cows milk, the custom developed to make the milk into cheese and color the eggs so that when Easter arrived, no food would be wasted.
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