A day off from your Lenten sacrifice?


A girlfriend of mine, Catholic, but doesn’t go to church because she can’t wake up on time, says that when you give up something for Lent, that you have 1 day off from honoring your sacrifice per week. She takes Sunday as her day off from her sacrifice of ‘no wine’ for Lent. I find this wrong. Her mother is Irish-Catholic from Massachusetts and says that that’s what they’ve always practiced. I’ve been a practicing Catholic all 34 years of my life and have never ever heard of such a thing, not even with staunchly pious & old-school Portuguese Catholic grandparents! Can someone clarify this for me and give me a link so that I may have proof to back up my argument against her should she be wrong?


I have definitely heard of that, although from what I understand, it’s more structured than just taking off any day of the week. The 40 days of Lent don’t technically include Sundays, because Sunday is when we remember the resurrection, and is therefore a “Feast Day” if I recall correctly. So if someone is abstaining from something, it would be ok if they did not abstain on the Sunday. I haven’t heard the final authority on this though, so if anyone has any other information, I would appreciate it. Thanks.


The way I’ve always understood it was that Sundays are like “mini-Easters” (because they’re not counted in Lent). My family usually is a bit more lenient on our Lenten sacrifices on Sundays, although that doesn’t mean we have a huge ice-cream feast or anything…:wink: My family is largely Irish, so I don’t know if that has anything to do with the tradition…


This is pretty much the way I’ve always thought it was.


Keep in mind that you are not required to “give up” something for Lent. We do it in order to grow. Some give something up, some do something extra and some give extra.

If you do give something up, it is up to you how you do it. For example, mu son gave up something different for each week of lent, a couple of years ago. The weeks went from Monday to Saturday, Sunday wasn’t included. At age 8, he didn’t think he could make it all of Lent.

Count the 40 days. They don’t include Sundays.


i have also heard that you are allowed go of your lent “offering” during the sundays

being irish i was always told he could also of of it during st paddys day and my bday which is also during lent!


Hmmm… is it an Irish thing?

This is also the way my husband, whose family is Irish, explained it to me. :slight_smile:


You are not supposed to fast on Sundays since this is the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Divine Liturgy), or better known as MASS

Mark 2:19

And Jesus saith to them: Can the children of the marriage fast, as long as the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.

God Bless




That’s sweet about your son. And a pretty good idea!


Sundays are not part of Lent.

Prior to the 60’s ALL of Lent was penitential abstinence, a Catholic did not eat meat.

HOWEVER, Sundays (and Solemnities) are not part of Lent, so that restriction did not apply. You could eat meat on a Sunday during Lent, or Solemnity Feast Days, such as the Feast of St. Joseph (or in Ireland, St. Patrick’s day)

The focus is on Sunday as being a Celebration of Easter, and for Solemnities, days of thanksgiving for God gifting St. Joseph (or St. Patrick) to His Church.

Does that make sense?


I used to think that Lent meant sacrifice all the way through until Easter. Apparently I had been poorly catechised in this area.

When I recognized that Sundays should not be part of the Lenten sacrifice, I did the math (Ash Wednesday thru Easter is 40 days plus the Sundays) and then did some soul-searching as to what I should do.

It has helped my spiritual growth tremendously because it put into better perspective for me that every Sunday should be treated, as someone above said so elequently, as a sort of mini-Easter.

Sunday is the Lord’s day. It isn’t just Easter Sunday…it’s every Sunday. What a glorious celebration every Sunday is. :slight_smile:

On the flip side of that, every Friday is a day of abstaining…even beyond Lent. This is another area where I had been poorly catechised. During Lent we are to abstain from meat, but even when it isn’t Lent we are supposed to abstain from something.


Thanks a lot, everybody. That cleared up a great deal of confusion for me. I guess it’s just my grandparents’ and mother’s upbringing. My grandparents were very devout, especially my grandfather, and didn’t care much for change. Piety and obedience was part of the day’s regimen and it never mattered what dispensation was given. They very much believed in sacrificing for the sake of others and this carried on in many different aspects of their lives. So their ways have since passed down through the generations.

But, I think i’ll continue to honor my sacrifice even on Sunday - I gave up cokes for Lent! It should do me good, no? lol Perhaps it’ll help me drop all the unwanted pounds! Maybe I’ll end up ‘going off’ sodas for ever.


“…if you slather butter on everything and not having it will kind of ruin the taste of your food as far as you’re concerned and you could care less about your cholesterol level, than I say, give up the butter. But if the whole time you’ve given up the butter and your food is ruined and you keep thinking about how the doctor is going to clap you on the back and say, “Good job!”, forget it. You have taken the wrong path to penitence.”




Lenten penances are also relaxed on Solemnities. St. Joseph’s Day last week was an example. The Annuncication of the Lord, which is observed today is another. On these two days, we are not required to perform an act of penance. So if one of these two days falls on a Friday, we are not required to abstain from meat.


Apparently no one read the article linked in post #9. The fact that we celebrate at least two Solemnities during lent kind of wreaks havoc on the whole “40 days not counting Sundays” argument. That said, I was raised that Lenten penances are practiced every day during lent unless given a dispensation or on the Solemnities. However, if you were raised differently or believe differently then I say “more power to you”. I don’t think it is that big of a deal or that one is “more holy” than the other. My feeling is based on how I was raised and has no other application.


That’s OK, no harm done, Jimmy answers it here:



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