In terms of obligations, do days end at sundown?


For example: when you are not supposed to eat meat on Good Friday, does this begin at sundown of Thursday and end at sundown of Friday, or does it begin 12:00am Friday and end 12:00am Saturday?


Really good question, “ED”. I’m afraid I don’t know the answer, though. :o Seems like the obligation would begin at sunset… since we can fulfill the Sunday obligation, at the Saturday Vigil Mass.

But I don’t know if this same practice carries over into other areas of Catholic doctrine. Hopefully, someone will know. I can see why you’d ask, and I’d like to know too!

God bless.


It is midnight to midnight- :slight_smile:

Here is a link I found that has a quote from the Code of Canon Law-


Thanks for that. So, just to be absolutely sure: it is only obligations of Mass that don’t operate from midnight to midnight?


Here is info on that subject- :slight_smile:

See at the bottom- ( Follow-up: Saturday Mass for Sunday [11-4-2008] )


To be clear: When there is an obligation to assist at Mass, it may be fulfilled at any time from the evening of the preceding day through the day itself (ie from the evening of the preceding day through midnight of the day itself).

There is no reason to suppose that other daily obligations are imposed otherwise than from midnight to midnight.

That is my read, but: I Am Not A Canon Lawyer



Put it this way - Vatican 2 suggested (although it didn’t command) that we fast on Holy Saturday as well as Good Friday - but specified only up to the Easter Vigil, meaning if you do fast on that day you should end at sundown.

So I’d imagine (although this never happens in practice) that if a Saturday, or the day before an HDO, were to be declared a day of fasting, since EVERY Sunday is a feast (a celebration of Easter) and EVERY HDO is also a celebration, and EVERY Sunday and HDO liturgically begins at vigil, that fast would only bind until sundown of Saturday or sundown of the day before the HDO.

For all other fasting and abstinence purposes, though, days are indeed calculated from midnight to midnight.


I belive the confusion comes because of solemnities. When there is a solemnity, you do not fast or abstain once the solemnity has begun. In the case of Easter, the solemnity begins after sunset, at that point the fast comes to an end. This is going to be different from parish to parish. It will depend on what time your parish begins the Easter Vigil. Also, you never fast on Sundays, because all Sundays are solemnities.

There are other specific solemnities that do not apply to most people. For example, we had religious profession of vows two Saturdays ago. Our community observes a fast for the 40 days of lent. But the day of religious profession is a solemnity for the community. That day, the fast is not observed. That rule would also apply to a wedding that may fall on a fast day. Though I can’t think of too many weddings on fast days, because most fast days are on Friday.

In any case, when the solemnity begins, there is no fasting or abstinence. Other than those rare celebrations, the fast and abstinence is from 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM.

Hope this helps.


JR :slight_smile:


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