As we approach our annual Lenten fast, please keep the following in mind:
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has determined that the following practices shall prevail in the United States: Fast and abstinence are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all those who have celebrated their 18th birthday until the until their 60th birthday. Abstinence from meat is to be observed on the Fridays of Lent by all who have celebrated their 14th birthday.
The church recognizes that there are chronically or seriously ill individuals who cannot fast or abstain. The church still calls for these individuals to participate in acts of penance and works of charity. These can be performed throughout the week; however, it is especially appropriate that these acts be performed on Fridays in place of the Friday fast.
No one can be dispensed from the necessity of doing penance. Catholics are strongly urged to practice voluntary acts of mortification and works of charity. The bishops of the United States have urged Catholics to consider abstaining from meat on Fridays “as a tangible sign of our need and desire to do penance for the cause of peace.”