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What are the Lenten guidelines for our Parish?

In the Diocese of Baton Rouge, as in the rest of the Church in the United States, Catholics aged 18 through 59 are bound by a grave obligation to observe a solemn fast on both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Catholics aged 14 and up are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays of Lent, and Good Friday as well. These norms have been established by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in accord with the norms of canons 1249-1253 in the revised Code of Canon Law of 1983.

To fast means to consume only one full meal a day at most, although taking of other, smaller quantities of food at the other customary mealtimes is permitted. Food and drink "between meals" (excepting only water and medicine) is not permitted on fast days.

To abstain from meat means refraining from eating beef, veal, pork, or poultry at least, although not necessarily eggs, milk products, or meat broths or condiments made from animal fat. The consumption of fish, shellfish, and reptiles (e.g., turtle, alligator) is permitted if desired.

In addition to the mandatory days listed above, abstinence from meat on every Friday throughout the year which is not a solemnity, and fasting on all Lenten weekdays (especially Wednesdays and Fridays) and on Holy Saturday, is strongly recommended to all the faithful. There always remains, of course, the grave obligation to participate at Holy Mass on all Sundays and days of obligation.

Each in his or her own way, every Christian is bound to do penance by virtue of divine law. Only ill health or some similar situation of urgency excuses one.

During the Lenten season, Christ Jesus' own challenges to "prayer, fasting and almsgiving" are paramount (see the Gospel reading for Ash Wednesday, Mt 6:1-6, 16-18). We seek ongoing forgiveness for sin (especially in the Sacrament of Penance) and come to appreciate ever more the great sufferings and sacrifice which Our Savior experienced for the sake of our salvation.

All diocesan clergy (priests and deacons) and those religious priests who have legitimate residence and active ministry within the Diocese of Baton Rouge have been delegated the power to dispense the faithful of the diocese, in individual cases and for a just reason, from the obligation to observe a particular day of penance, or to commute some or all of its obligations to other pious works. Included in this is the faculty to dispense from the Lenten obligations to fast and abstain from meat. Yet the obligation to do some kind of penance remains a serious one, and is not taken lightly by a good Catholic. (www.Diobr.org)

How often may a person receive Communion at the weekend Masses (Vigil and Sunday)?

According to the Code of Cannon Law you are allowed to receive Communion (Eucharist) once a day. An exception would be that if you are going to mass in order to participate in the Liturgy, such as having to speak at all the Masses on stewardship, etc., you could receive the Eucharist at two of the masses in which you are fully participating. So when it comes to the Eucharist once a day is enough. You may also receive the Eucharist more than once a day if you are attending different liturgies such as weddings, funerals or baptisms.

Why do Catholics practice Fasting and Abstinence during Lent?

Even by the time of Christ, fasting and abstaining were venerable traditions of piety among Jews. The practices were not foreign to Christ or the apostles. In the early Church, a two or three day Lenten fast was common. It was not until the fourth century and the Council of Nicea that a forty day period was mentioned. In the Middle Ages, the rule relaxed somewhat, with a light second meal and fish allowed. From time to time and place to place, there has been variation in practice, but consistency of spirit: the life of a Christian is a life of penance. Catholic Source Book p 103

Why Friday? Why Meat?

From the first century, the day of the crucifixion has been traditionally observed as a day of abstaining from flesh meat ("black fast") to honor Christ who sacrificed his flesh on a Friday. Catholic Source Book p 101

What is St. John Catholic Church?

St. John the Evangelist is a Roman Catholic Faith community located in Prairieville, Louisiana. What is a Catholic Church Community? We believe Christ Jesus " gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of His own." (Titus 2:14) " You (we) are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people." (1 Pet 2:9)

One enters into the people of God by faith and Baptism. "All men are called to belong to the new people of God", so that, in Christ "men may form one family and one people of God"

The Church is the Body of Christ. Through the Spirit and his action in the sacraments, above all the Eucharist, Christ, who once was dead is now risen, establishes the community of believers as his own Body.

In the unity of the Body, there is a diversity of members and functions. All members are linked to one another, especially to those who are suffering, to the poor and persecuted.

The Church is the Body of which Christ is the head: she lives from Him, in Him, and for Him; He lives with her and in her.

The Church is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the soul, as it were, of the Mystical Body, the source of its life, of its unity in diversity, and of the riches of its gifts and charisms.

"Hence the universal Church is seen to be 'a people brought into unity from the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

Catechism of the Catholic Church #802-810