Lent-Time for Prayer, Penance

NEWARK-Msgr. John E. Doran, Vicar General, Moderator and Acting Chancellor for the Archdiocese of Newark, has issued Lenten regulations to pastors.

"Lent is the time for the faithful to be ever more attentive to the word of God and prayer, to prepare themselves by penance for the renewal of their baptismal promises at Easter," Msgr. Doran stated in his memo to pastors. He said the virtue and practice of penance is a necessary part of the preparation for Easter (April 12). Penitential practices such as fasting and abstinence are to be "encouraged by the Church."

Pastors were asked to publish the archdiocesan Lenten regulations in their respective parish bulletins on Sunday, Feb. 22, prior to Ash Wednesday. Msgr. Doran pointed out that the Code of Canon Law allows a pastor to dispense in individual cases from eating meat on Friday during the Lenten Season.

Archdiocesan Lenten Regulations:
• The days of both fast and abstinence during Lent are Ash Wednesday (Feb. 25) and Good Friday (April 10). The other Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence. On a day of fast, only one full meal is permitted. Those between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast. On a day of abstinence, no meat may be eaten. Those who have reached the age of 14 are obliged by the law of abstinence.

• The obligation to observe the laws of fast and abstinence "substantially," or as a whole, is a serious obligation.

• The Fridays of the year, outside of Lent, are designated as days of penance, but each individual may substitute for the traditional abstinence from meat some other practice of voluntary self-denial as penance.

• The time for fulfilling the Paschal Precept (Easter Duty*) extends from the First Sunday of Lent, March 1, 2009 to the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, June 7, 2009.
(*Canon 920: 1-All the faithful, after they have been initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, are bound by the obligation of receiving Communion at least once a year.)

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