Abstainance From Meat During Holidays


Okay, not sure if this is the right forum for this, but, here goes…

I have a question about abstaining from meat on Fridays with regard to the holidays.

It just recently came to our attention that we needed to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. When we heard this, we confirmed it by looking it up in canon law. This is what we found:

Can.** 1251** Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Can.** 1253** The Episcopal Conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.

Now, here are my questions. Our family traditionally has veal on Christmas Eve for our special Christmas meal. Also, on New Year’s Eve we usually have various meat dishes. However, this year, both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on Fridays…

Must we abstain from meat on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, or are these “Eves” considered part of the following days’ Solemnities, because the Vigil Mass is celebrated on these days? Is it acceptable for our family to give up meat on a different day of that week instead of abstaining on those Fridays? What constitutes a “form of penance” that could be substituted for abstaining?


If you’re in the U.S. you can simply choose a differant form of penance for those days.


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