Traditional fasting (Lent)

Rogation days are days of fasting and prayer against natural disasters. There were three of them in a row prior to Ascension Thursday. Ascension Thursday was followed by an octave, so Ascension was regarded as a tide within the Paschal liturgical season. Three days in preparation so to say and 8 days of rejoicing. (I should note that thru the indult this is still observed.)

in a church dedicated to a saint, fast and abstinence could be lifted for that parish on the feast day. If you had an Irish pastor, a free past on St. Paddy’s day for corned beef and cabbage was a gimme.

also total fast from midnight before first communion, which is why the early Mass, not the later Mass, was the really crowded one.

also even in the era of strictest discipline, farm laborers could be permitted extra food or drink in times of more intensive work, planting, hay-making etc.

Sounds like something we ought to observe down here. I vaguely remember these as a child.

It is up to the bishop to order a dispensation depending on the culture of the area.

Published - Thursday, March 16, 2006
By JOE ORSO / La Crosse Tribune

Area Catholics — Irish or not — can have their corned beef and eat it, too, this St. Patrick’s Day even though the holiday falls on a Friday during Lent.

While Catholics normally are encouraged to go meatless on Fridays, particularly during Lent, the bishops of La Crosse and Winona have issued dispensations allowing them to partake on St. Patrick’s Day — with some stipulations.

“This dispensation is limited,” said Benedict Nguyen, chancellor of the La Crosse diocese. “There really isn’t a dispensation unless you’re celebrating the feast of St. Patrick.”

In his dispensation to La Crosse Catholics — available by clicking a green link on the diocesan Web site — the Rev. Jerome Listecki, bishop of La Crosse, asks that Catholics who eat meat this Friday abstain from eating meat on another day during the second week of Lent.

In 2000, when St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Lenten Friday, the diocese wasn’t so lenient. The Rev. Raymond Burke, then bishop, declined to grant the dispensation.

But Burke, now archbishop of the St. Louis Archdiocese, approved a dispensation this year.

Rose Hammes, director of communications for the Diocese of Winona, said the Rev. Bernard Harrington, bishop of the diocese and the son of Irish immigrants, gives out green carnations and boutonnieres on St. Patrick’s Day.

“He is probably the most Irish man I know,” said Hammes.

She said some parishes in Winona, where a dispensation also was granted in 2000, serve corned beef at St. Patrick’s Day fundraisers.

“I might get out and enjoy a little corned beef myself on Friday,” said Hammes, who is German but said she’s Irish like everyone else on St. Patrick’s Day.

Although St. Patrick’s Parish in Sparta held its St. Patrick’s feast Sunday, the Rev. Jim Leary, a Capuchin Franciscan and pastor of the parish, said he plans to enjoy corned beef with friends Friday.

The Irish “have had a prominent place in our long history,” said Leary, who said he is 100 percent Irish. They arrived “dirt poor, and as a result of all the opportunities, they’ve become pretty well-established in the United States. St. Patrick’s Day is a chance to acknowledge our Irish heritage.”

And this year, it’s a chance for Catholics to eat meat on a Lenten Friday.

Thank you. I have marked those 3 days on my calendar as fasting days.

Rogation days and ember days were never fully removed from the calendar, they are optional under the current calendar. So it varies from diocese to diocese. I imagine that those who live at the foot of Mt. Etna in Sicily probably observe these days. You might want to bring this up with your bishop after all of hardships that New Orleans and its surrounding parishes went through.

Not completely on point, but related: The 40 Days of Lent referred to the 6 fast days per week (Sunday, as stated previously, was not a fast day) for 6 weeks plus the 4 fast days from Ash Wednesday through the following Saturday- 36+4 = 40. Often times people would make the distinction concerning Sundays as being “in” Lent but not “of” Lent.

I am making the act of fasting a very important part of my lent. I understand that fasting is defined as one full meal with meat(on days other than Fridays) and two other small snacks that do not equal one full meal. My question is, what constitutes a full meal? Should these meals be of smaller portions during lent or is the one full meal quite significant. And also what are some examples of a typical snack that would be reasonable? I would like to hear from a more trafitonalist perspective the logistics of a good fast. Thank you for your help.

Well, I’m in RCIA and this is my first Lent and Ash Wednesday to properly observe with fasting and all the traditions. I just finished being lectured by my fundamentalist Protestant mother on the dangers of being drawn into the pitfalls of Catholic legalism…

That’s true, isn’t it? Especially considering the timing before hurricane season.

I define “snacks” as any solid food between meals. I was taught snacking during a required fasting period is completely verboten.

The smaller meals could be something like a bowl of soup or couple of pieces of fruit. I don’t know, something with a caloric intake of about 200-300?

But then you have those who try to weasal and maneuver their way into heaven (as Fr Sarduccio used to say) and consume 3000 calories at their main meal so that they can eat more at their “smaller” meals. Not exactly in the spirit of the fast.

Thank you BobP123. That’s basically what I thought about fasting on weekdays. Now I know Sunday and Feasts are not days of fasting, so does that mean meat can be consumed at multiple meals and three full meals may be eaten. I did read earlier that even on Sunday’s during lent fish and flesh should not be consumed at the same meal, but are there any other stipulations?

That should be Sundays and Solemnities. The Solemnities in Lent are the Annunciation [March 25] and Saint Joseph’s Day [March 19].

These are sometimes referred to as feasts, but technically feasts, like the Chair of Saint Peter last Thursday, are the next lower grade of liturgical celebration. They are not exempt from the penitential laws.

You know, I would love to pratice a Middle Ages Traditional Lent just once to see what it was like back in those days.

Maybe I’ve watched too many Medieval movies with old style churches. Everything seemed so peaceful and quiet those days (save for raiding Vikings) - walking up from the village to the local stone walled chapel or church, overlooking the valley below where a larger medieval style town is, with a forest on the opposite side of the church, and a small church graveyard, small table with candles in the church, etc.

And peaceful Gregorian chants and/or sacred polyphony.

Yep, Gregorian Chants, too.

The ancient fasts sound very difficult. But if the bread were very rich, they might have been able to consume perhaps 700 calories on a fasting day. This would mean a daily deficit of 1300 calories on a typical 2000/day diet. One pound of flab = 3500 calories. This would mean that in one week, a person would lose about three pounds.

If they had a rich beer that might add another 300-500 calories. This would mean losing about two pounds per week. So, Lent would mean losing, say, ten pounds. Not unthinkable, I suppose. Sound about right?

I also came to realize that the majority did not have meat on a daily basis, except the nobility. Also dinner (the main meal of the day) took place around 3 in the afternoon and they would have a light meal in the evening (supper). So being allowed to eat only once a day and abstain from meat and animal products was probably not as hard for them as we think it is. Now a days people work until at least 5 at night and don’t have dinner until later.

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