During the season of Lent, the Church urges the faithful to reflect a spirit of penance in their daily lives through performing acts of fast and abstinence.
- Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14, and ends on the evening of Holy Thursday, March 28.
- Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting and abstinence. This is a serious matter within Church law.
- Fasting means only one full meal a day may be taken. Two smaller meals may be eaten to maintain physical strength but together they should not equal another full meal in quantity. Snacking between meals is not permitted.
- Catholics ages 18-59 are obligated to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Those who are not specifically obliged to fast are encouraged to join in the discipline of fasting to the extent that they are able.
- Abstinence forbids the eating of meat or poultry. Those who have reached the age of 14 and older are obligated to abstain on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. Those who are not specifically obliged to abstain from eating meat are urged to join in the discipline of abstaining to the extent that they are able.
- All Fridays of the year are designated as days of penance during which we are encouraged to practice self-denial out of gratitude for the suffering and death Jesus accepted for us.
FIRST SUNDAY OF PASSIONTIDE During the last two weeks of Lent in the dioceses of the United States, the practice of covering crosses and images throughout the church from the Fifth Sunday of Lent (March 17) may be observed. Crosses remain veiled in Roman violet until Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion (March 29), but images remain veiled in this color until the beginning of the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night (March 30).
- This year, Ash Wednesday is also the observance of St. Valentine’s Day. As Catholics we must observe most strictly the first day of Lent while perhaps accommodating the commendable Valentine tenderness. You are encouraged to take unusual advantage of Mardi Gras and do the Valentine observance on “St. Valentine’s Eve” which, in any event, is a traditional party day.
- Reconciliation Monday will be held on March 25 from 2:00 to 4:00 and 6:00 to 9:00 PM in cooperation with the dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre, with confessions available throughout the day.
- Due to the placement of the Solemnity of St. Patrick, the patron of our cathedral and the archdiocese on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, the liturgical observance will be moved to Monday, March 18, even though the annual Fifth Avenue parade, which is not church sponsored, will be held on Saturday, March 16.
- On March 25, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. Since it falls on Monday during Holy Week, its observance is transferred to April 8, Monday of the Second Week of Easter.
- The time for fulfilling Easter Duty extends from the First Sunday of Lent (February 18) to Holy Trinity Sunday (May 26).