Fasting & Abstinence during Lent

As Catholics we are aware of the practices of fasting and of abstinence. Fasting is about how much or how little food we take in over a period of time. Abstinence has to do with the kinds of foods we deny ourselves (eg meat, chocolate). Fasting for religious purposes is a practice of self-discipline and has a long tradition in many religions and in the Church. It is used as an aid to concentration in prayer and it also helps develop a sensitivity to those in need. As a Church, abstinence calls us (aged 14 years or older) to refrain from the eating of meat. Fasting allows only 1 full meal a day, but does not prohibit taking some food in the morning and the evening. In addition, eating between meals is prohibited. Fasting applies to those between the ages of 18-59 years. In Canada, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are the required days of fasting and abstinence.



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