Lenten regulations

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The following Lenten times of penance are in accordance with the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church and with the directives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. These regulations bind all Latin Rite Catholics of the United States of America except as noted:

• All are obliged by law to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Feb.  22, 2023, all Fridays of Lent, and Good Friday, April 7, 2023, from the age of 14 years throughout life. The law forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, the products of milk, or condiments made of animal fat.

• Bishop J. Mark Spalding has granted to the faithful of the Diocese of Nashville, as well as to any visitors or travelers who may be physically present in the diocese, a dispensation from the obligation of abstinence from meat on March 17, in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Those taking advantage of the dispensation are exhorted to undertake a work of charity, an exercise of piety, or an act of comparable penance on some other occasion during the Third Week of Lent.

• All are obliged by law to fast – limiting oneself to one full meal and two lighter meals in the course of the day – on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, from the day after their 18th birthday until the day after their 59th birthday. The combined quantity of food at the two light meals should not exceed the quantity of food taken at the full meal. The drinking of ordinary liquids does not break the fast.

• All are generally obliged to do penance during the entire season of Lent. In addition to fast and abstinence, the obligation may be discharged by other good works, such as voluntary abstinence, prayer, self-denial, almsgiving, and acts of charity.

• Holy days of obligation during Lent include all Sundays, Feb. 26 through April 2, and Easter Sunday, April 9. 

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