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Days of Fasting and Abstinence

I remember as a boy journeying through the days of Lent. When I was young the Lenten obligations regarding fasting and abstinence were much different than they currently are in the church. Then adults had to fast every day of Lent and everyone had to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday throughout the year not just on the Fridays of Lent.

Posted on February 25, 2020


Today Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of both fast and abstinence and all the Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence.  I use to think as a boy how difficult it must have been for my parents to fast and not eat between meals for the forty days of Lent!  As a child I always seemed to feel hungry.  I knew I couldn’t do it!  I did though give up candy and going to the movies for Lent and that was quite a sacrifice in my boyhood!

         I believe the church regulations regarding fasting changed before I reached the age where I was obligated to fast for all the days of Lent.  But when I was in my twenties I began fasting during Lent and on other days throughout the year, usually on Wednesdays. I found fasting very beneficial to my prayer life; and it made me more attuned to the needs of others around me.  When fasting I found myself listening more to what God was saying to me and what he was asking from me. In reflecting back at that time in my life I believe that fasting helped me to discern my call from God to the priesthood.

I must say that I did not remain as faithful to fasting as I was in my Youth.  I only have to look at my waistline to remind me of that fact!   I do hope this Lent to fast again more than I have in recent years.  If my parents in their youth raising four kids and working long days could fast during the forty days of Lent, and not eat between meals, then I should be able to fast more than just on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  That is a goal I have for this Lent.  Hopefully the fasting will help strengthen my relationship with God in prayer and my relationships with those I am called to serve.

Have a holy and a reflective Lent.                                     

God bless you, Father Bill



Words from our Pastor

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