Fast days - local practices


I wanted to add to an older post with the same title, but read in the guidelines that this should not be done in the forum… it isn’t such an old post though, form June.

Aynway I had asked about older fast days and whether a local Bishops’ Conference could reinstate them by pain of sin, which I learned would be possible.

Now my additional question would be: Could an even smaller authority reinstate them too, that is, a local pastor?

The question comes up now going towards the eve of the Assumption, that also used to be an obligatory fast day. I am living in the same country where I used to be on that day the last years as well, when I had been told by the local priest that it was no longer obligatory (but still quite some people practice it at least to some degree here, I get the feeling).

Now I have moved to a different part of town, or better, to the city (before I was like in a msller town nearby). It is under the same Bishop though. Now the question is must I ask at the local church here whether or not fasting is necessary?

I have had a lot of problems with scrupulosity so I want to avoid asking if it is not necessary.

And in case somebody is going to tell me, just do the fast it is good anyway - for me fasting is very hard and I would have to think about whether or not it would be wise health-wise (for Good Friday a preist had told me I need not fast; but now I would have to think it over anew, if I would be strong enough etc… so if I don’t have to I’d rather not… :wink: )

So would you ask because you have moved to a different community under the same Bishop?


p.s. this in not in the U.S.


The only days where fasting is obligatory (for those of a certain age) is Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. There has never been an obligation to fast on Holy Days of Obligation (such as the Assumption). Unless your country had made some approved modifications under Canon Law. I’ve never heard of such modifications regarding fasting, only modifications about the obligation to attend Mass (but I don’t know everything, so maybe it’s possible :shrug:).

In any case, if you are in the same diocese, I don’t see why you would need to ask again just because you are at a different parish. These things do not vary from parish to parish within the same diocese.


My common sense also tells me that I would not need to ask again.:blush: especially since I think I remember in this same town a priest (or more than one) saying that only two days are obligatory fast days.
And I doubt that this would change from pšarish to parish… ??

I do think though that BEFORE the 1983 Canon Code, there were more obligatory fast days, see for example here:



Kathrin, all Catholics are under the 1983 Code of Canon Law, so what was the law before is no longer binding. A priest or a Bishop does not have the authority to change the law for his diocese or parish, unless the law gives them that option. So things like this do not change from parish to parish, or even diocese to diocese if there are no options given.

No, you do not have to fast on the Assumption.


I had learned that the Bishop’s conference does have the authority to regulate fasting; :shrug:


Hm, the link I posted above is also a bit confusing as it doesn’t mention the Assumption at all, and later it says that the Eucharistic fast is 3 hours… which I know for pretty sure now is 1 hour, otherwise a lot of priests and other people must have been wrong which i do not believe :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


It is interesting to know what came before, but it doesn’t change our current obligation. The current obligation is one hour fast before Communion (Can. 919) and the only days of fasting are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (Can. 1251). So don’t worry about not fasting on Friday. I think it’s rather more fitting to feast on the Assumption rather than fast. :slight_smile:


The fast wouldn’t have been on the Assumption, but the day BEFORE.

I must admit I did ask at my local church, the temtation to ask since I was at mass anyway was too big ;).

I learned it is a pious tradition to fast on that day here. But not an obligation.


The OP refers to the vigil of the Assumption, which is the day before, and not the solemnity of the Assumption itself. Most people think of the vigil as the Mass that is celebrated the evening before the holy day, which fulfills the obligation to attend Mass on the feast. Others have already pointed out that we are all under the 1983 code of canon law, so no former customs can be mandated by bishop or priest, unless the law allows that. However, many people do not realize that traditionally, the term *vigil *was used differently than most people use it today, though that word was not used in the OP.

Prior to V2, the day before a major feast or holy day was called a vigil, and penitential practices, such as abstinence, or even fasting, were the norm. The Vigil Mass on the day before was celebrated in violet vestments, without the Gloria or Alleluia, and the texts of the Mass were not the same as the Mass of the feast day. The Mass was celebrated in the morning, and did not fulfill the obligation to attend Mass on the feast–indeed, there were no evening Masses at all until the 1950s, and the custom of attending Mass on the evening before, to fulfill the obligation, did not begin until 1970.


Thank you Chatter for this additional and interesting info :).


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