Ash Wednesday 2024
This year Ash Wednesday falls on Feb. 14, the date annually celebrated as Valentine's Day. Some may be wondering if a dispensation from the standard laws of fast and abstinence will be granted. "Out of respect for the importance of Ash Wednesday in the lives of so many -- including our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, and the way this custom underlines the importance of the Lenten season at its outset," noted Father Justin Ward, Vicar for Sacred Liturgy, "a dispensation will not be given." A fitting alternative, however, would be to celebrate on the day before, Mardi Gras.
Please note the following from the Office of Sacred Liturgy: "Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence. For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards. A blessed Lenten season to all."