Wednesday 17th February 2021
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, time dedicated to prayer, fasting, and reflection in preparation for the great celebration of Christ’s Resurrection.
The Church has long used ashes as an outward sign of grief, a mark of humility, mourning, penance and morality. Receiving the blessed ashes on your forehead is the sign of penance. It signifies that we ought to repent of our sins.
Fasting and Abstinence
Catholics must fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Additionally, they must abstain from meat on all Fridays during Lent.
The norms of fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. Fasting means a person is permitted to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may also be taken, but they are not to equal that of a full meal. The rule of abstinence from meat is binding upon Catholics aged 14 and onwards. For those outside the age limits, Canon Law notes that “Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.”