Lent 2024

Lent is a 40 day season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

Things to Remember for Lent

ABSTINENCE:  All Catholics who have reached their 14th birthday are bound to abstain totally from meat on the following days: Ash Wednesday, all Fridays of Lent and Good Friday.

FASTING:  All Catholics between their 18th and 59th birthdays are also bound to observe the Law of Fast on the following days: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. This practice involves limiting oneself to a single full meal and avoiding food between meals. Light sustenance may be taken on two other occasions in the course of the day.

EASTER DUTY:  After they have been initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, all the faithful are bound by the obligation of receiving Communion at least once a year. This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season, unless for a good reason it is fulfilled at another time during the year. This obligation may be fulfilled between the First Sunday in Lent and Trinity Sunday.

RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS: The Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion will occur on the First Sunday of Lent, February 18th at St. Joseph Cathedral.


  • RECONCILIATION:  Catholics are bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year (Canon 989).

  • OTHER FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR:Catholics should be reminded that all other Fridays of the year remain as days of penance, in prayerful remembrance of the Passion of Jesus Christ.

  • OBLIGATION:  The obligation which we have as members of the Church to do penance is a serious one. Furthermore, the obligation to observe, as a whole or “substantially,” the penitential days specified by the Church is a serious one.

  • While no one should hold himself or herself lightly excused, one should not become unduly scrupulous. Failure to observe individual days of penance is less serious than the failure to observe any penitential days at all or a substantial number of such days.

  • From the beginning of Lent until the Paschal Vigil, the Alleluia is not said or sung.

  • Ash Wednesday will be celebrated on February 14, 2024. On Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which is observed everywhere as a fast day, ashes are distributed.” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, nos. 27-29)

    Ashes are blessed and imposed after the homily. These ashes are of branches of the olive tree, or, according to custom, of the palm tree or other trees, which have been blessed the previous year. Ashes may be imposed on a person’s forehead in the usual manner or by means of the European custom of sprinkling ashes on the crown of a person’s head.

AN INVITATION:  In the name of peace, and in union with the Bishops of our country, the faithful of this Diocese are invited to add voluntary fasting to the practice of penance during the Fridays of the year. Together with works of charity and service toward our neighbors, this practice would become a sign of our commitment to conversion, reconciliation and peace. (The Challenge of Peace, Art. 298)

Why is Lent 40 days long?

Lent lasts for 40 days because Christ suffered in the desert for 40 days.

How is the date of Ash Wednesday determined?

Ash Wednesday always falls six and half weeks before Easter.

How is the date of Easter determined?

Easter is a moveable feast as opposed to a fixed date each year. Easter being celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon of spring (March 21 or later) dates back to the Council of Nicea in 325.

How long is Lent?

Lent lasts 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday, excluding Sundays. Sundays are an important part of Lent, but we do not include them in the “40 days” because on every Sunday we remember and celebrate the Resurrection of Christ in the Mass.

Do Sundays count in Lent?

Technically, the Church does not obligate us to fast on Sundays. However, the Sundays during Lent are still part of the Lenten season. Choosing to continue your Lenten sacrifice on Sunday is a personal choice.

Why is Lent purple?

The color purple holds significant symbolism, associated with royalty, it signifies Jesus as our eternal King. It recalls the robe that Pontius Pilate placed on Jesus before His crucifixion, serving as a reminder of Christ’s suffering and sacrifice.