Lent in the Catholic tradition, is the period of the liturgical year leading up to Easter. Lent is a time of sacrifice for Jesus. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, penance, and alms giving— for the celebration of Holy Week, especially Good Friday, in remembrance of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, followed by the celebration of the Ressurection of our Lord on Easter Sunday.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lent
What are the requirements for Lent?
Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent.
Fasting as explained by the U.S. bishops means partaking of only one full meal. Some food (not equaling another full meal) is permitted at breakfast and around midday or in the evening—depending on when a person chooses to eat the main or full meal.
Abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, milk products or condiments made of animal fat.
Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are not forbidden. So it is permissible to use margarine and lard. Even bacon drippings which contain little bits of meat may be poured over lettuce as seasoning.
When does Lent Start?Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which occurs every year, 46 days before Easter Sunday (40 days excluding The Six Sundays of Lent.) In 2011, Lent starts on Wednesday March 9, 2011.
When does Lent End?Lent ends on Holy Thursday, and the Tridum ( Latin for three days) begins. The Triduum includes Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday and are the most sacred days of the liturgical year, along with Easter Sunday.