Dear OSJ Family,

With the start of Lent, this past Wednesday, Roman Catholic traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, alms giving, and other forms of self-denial are still most warmly recommended by the Church.

This week I draw our attention to the Lenten practice of fasting.

Broadly speaking, fasting is the voluntary avoidance of something that is good. When Catholics talk about fasting, we normally mean restricting the food that we eat. We can fast between meals, by not eating snacks, or we can engage in a complete fast by abstaining from all food. While fasting takes the form of refraining from eating, it is primarily a spiritual discipline designed to tame the body so that we can concentrate on higher things, like prayer, reflection, and meditation. Fasting also unites us with others in their daily sufferings and trials. Not just Christians, but Jews, Muslims, and members of other faiths practice fasting as a means to holiness!

Here are the Diocesan Guidelines for fasting:

-Everyone 14 years of age or older is bound to abstain from meat on all the Fridays of Lent and Good Friday.

-Everyone 18 or older, and under 59 years of age, is bound to fast on Good Friday.

-On Good Friday, only one full meatless meal is allowed. Two other meatless meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted. When health or ability to work would be seriously affected, the law does not oblige.

I hope this is helpful and I wish you a most Blessed Lent!

Fr Phil Florio, SJ