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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

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Which Are the Days of Abstinence in Lent?

Question:

Can you tell me what Catholic traditions are concerning Lent? My father goes without meat on Friday, my mother on Wednesday and Friday. Which one is right?

Answer:

They both are. The Church nowadays requires abstinence from meat only on Fridays of Lent, so your father is obeying the current discipline. In the early centuries, Christians fasted and abstained on Wednesdays and Fridays—not only in Lent, but all year long. So your mother is honoring this ancient tradition.

The spirit of Lent is to do something more, something extra, to grow closer to Christ. The Church sets some guidelines as a minimum, but we are free to do more. Traditionally, the penances of Lent are fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Each person, together with his confessor, decides on what practices will best prepare him for Easter.

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