Heads Up! Ash Wednesday falls on St. Valentine’s Day this year!
However, it is still an obligatory day of fasting! That means a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together does not equal a full meal. We do not eat meat on Ash Wednesday.
Catholics also do not eat meat any of the Fridays of Lent as a sacrifice for Christ.
Abstinence is one of our oldest Christian traditions. “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” (Klein, P., Catholic Source Book, 78).
Until 1966 Church law prohibited meat on all Fridays throughout the entire year. The new law was promulgated in 1983 in the revised Code of Canon Law which states, “Abstinence [is] to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Canon 1251). “All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence” (Canon 1252). The U. S. Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) extended this law to include all Fridays in Lent.
St. Valentine’s Day this year is all about love in a special way that focuses on Christ’s love of us!