Ash Wednesday

Our Mass times and information on fasting and abstinence in Lent.

People aged 16-60 years old are asked by the Church to fast, and people aged 14-60 years old are asked to abstain from meat. This does not apply to those who are sick.

It is a traditional doctrine of Christian spirituality that a constituent part of repentance, of turning away from sin and back to God, includes some form of penance, without which the Christian is unlikely to remain on the narrow path and be saved (Jer 18:11, 25:5; Ez  18:30, 33:11-15; Joel 2:12; Mt 3:2; Mt 4:17; Acts 2:38). Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk 5:35). The general law of penance, therefore, is part of the law of God for man.

The Church for her part has specified certain forms of penance, both to ensure that the Catholic will do something, as required by divine law, while making it easy for Catholics to fulfil the obligation. Thus, the 1983 Code of Canon Law specifies the obligations of Latin Rite Catholics.

  • All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church. (Canon 1250)
  • Abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. (Canon 1251)

What is fasting? The law of fasting requires a Catholic to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity. Such fasting is obligatory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The fast is broken by eating between meals and by drinks which could be considered food (milk shakes, but not milk). Alcoholic beverages do not break the fast; however, they seem to be contrary to the spirit of doing penance.

There is Mass in our parish at 10am and 7pm on Ash Wednesday. St Thomas Primary staff and pupils will attend the 10am Mass. There are also services in St Luke’s for staff and pupils.

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Genesis 3:19

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