When does Lent end?

So I was reading a bit on lent on EWTN and it said that:

Q: What is Lent?
A: Lent is the forty day period before Easter, excluding Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday). [This traditional ennumeration does not precisely coincide with the calendar according to the liturgical reform. In order to give special prominence to the Sacred Triduum (Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Good Friday, Easter Vigil) the current calendar counts Lent as only from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday, up to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Even so, Lenten practices are properly maintained up to the Easter Vigil, excluding Sundays, as before.]

Does this mean that Lent ends on Holy Thursday or that it ends on the Easter Vigil or Holy Saturday? I know that the season ends on Holy Thursday, but do things like lenten penance and such end on Holy Saturday or the Easter Vigil?

There have been Several Threads about this.
Read one of them if you want a Bunch of information about it.

The “Official” answer is on the day before Holy Thursday.
Then, on Holy Thursday the Triduum begins.

The oddity of this is that (with this situation) there are NOT 40 days of Lent (as the last 3 days before Easter don’t count).

So, apparently this is a Holy Mystery.

If you’re asking about the penitential aspect of Lent, that extends to the start of the Vigil. While Good Friday is a day of fast and abstinence and Holy Saturday is not, we are invited to continue our fasting and penance until the Vigil.

What that means for me, personally, is that whatever I’ve given up for Lent stays given up until I return from the Vigil or from Easter morning Mass if I don’t attend the Vigil.

Oh…I thought it ended tonight. I was so looking forward to the BIG,GIGANTIC,ENORMOUS bar of chocolate that my friend said she would buy for me.:frowning:

If you do a physical count from Ash Wednesday, March 5, there are 40 days until April 19, the day before Easter (not including Sundays). I’m not sure how you determined that the Triduum is not counted within the 40 days?

Sirach2 : "If you do a physical count from Ash Wednesday, March 5, there are 40 days until April 19, the day before Easter (not including Sundays). I’m not sure how you determined that the Triduum is not counted within the 40 days?"

First, your initial statement is not True : "If you do a physical count from Ash Wednesday, March 5, there are 40 days until April 19, the day before Easter (not including Sundays)."
It is much MORE than 40 days … seemingly 46 Days.
Then, the Catholic Church has Ruled that all 6 of the Sundays during Lent, do NOT count as days of Lent.
That would bring the number of Days down to the 40 days.

Second, I did not invent the Rule that the 3 days of Triduum do not count.
This is a Catholic Church Rule (or Policy).
So, the FORMAL Lent concludes on Holy Thursday.
I think that this is a silly (if not stupid) idea, because it doesn’t make sense to the average Catholic (ME included).
I just learned this myself (on CAF) a couple weeks ago, and I can’t get over the fact that it seems to make a mockery of the 40 days.
A Poster quoted the Catechism (I think), and it said-so in so many words.

Because, THEN people have to say that you should STILL keep your Lenten promises until the Vigil Mass.
Well, if it AIN’T Lent … WHY do I have to Pretend that it is (when it ISN’T)?
So, to ponder that “quirk” is to be required to dance around Logic.
But, whatever.

I think you misread my post. Count them again, using a calendar. Yes, there are 46 days from Ash Wed. to Easter, and excluding the 6 Sundays, you have 40 days all the way up to Holy Saturday, when lent ends. If you stop at Holy Thursday, there would only be 37 days.

It’s less of a mystery when we see that the definition of Lent that has it “officially” ending on the evening of Maundy Thursday isn’t very old.

From another recent thread:

In other words, relatively recently, Lent was “shortened,” so to speak, in this calendar by defining Lent to end before the last days of Holy Week and not extending Lent in the other direction to compensate (so as to give us “Ash Monday” or something like that).

Of course, this change does not mean that the penitential season ends at the same time as this Official Lent on the evening of Maundy Thursday: going out for cheeseburgers is unlikely to be the most fitting thing to do after church that evening, even if you do make sure to finish eating by midnight.

Hi Aeden,

Very common question! The Liturgical Season of Lent ends at Holy Thursday mass. Then, the Easter Triduum begins. The Triduum is something of a season of it’s own, as it is a celebration of the Paschal Mystery.

As it says, you should maintain you Lenten penances up until the Easter Vigil. The fact that Lent ends and the Triduum begins wasn’t meant to allow people to stop their Lenten penances during our Lord’s Passion, but to separate the Paschal Mystery into it’s own unique liturgical category.

Hope that helps!

Awww come on now. Don’t you remember when the Easter Bunny came? You didn’t get to dig into the Easter Basket till Easter morning and if you were catholic, you usually had to wait till AFTER EASTER MASS! This was so when you grew up, you’d know when your fast from whatever you gave up for Lent was over. Now call you mom and dad and thank them for the teaching that went with the Peeps and Jelly Beans and eggs.

Glenda

Why do you not also exclude the Solemnity of St Joseph, Husband of Mary, which always falls during Lent (unless explicitly moved by the episcopal conference)? Should not Lent begin on “Ash Tuesday”? :confused:

And why do you not also exclude the Solemnity of the Annunciation in those years, such as 2014, when it falls during Lent? Should not Lent in those years begin on “Ash Monday”? :confused:

Or is “40 days” *really *just an approximation (like the old Sundays designated Quinquagesima, Sexagesima, and Septuagesima)? :hmmm:

To the OP: Lent ends when the Mass of the Lord’s Supper begins, but amy pre-Easter penitential practices ought to be maintained until …you know… Easter.

tee

Smichhertz said : "The Liturgical Season of Lent ends at Holy Thursday mass.
Then, the Easter Triduum begins…
As it says, you should maintain your Lenten penances up until the Easter Vigil."

OK, you stated :** “As it says, you should…”**
What is the “IT” which tells Catholics to NOT Break our Lenten Practices on Holy Thursday?

The MAIN reason I ask this is because ALL of the Sundays during Lent are days that I can ALREADY Break any of my Lenten Practices.
So, what makes the Triduum so Special a period (when it isn’t even in the Lent period at all?

And, "The fact that Lent ends and the Triduum begins wasn’t meant to allow people to stop their Lenten penances during our Lord’s Passion, but to separate the Paschal Mystery into its own unique liturgical category."

I can’t quite grasp what you are saying here.
Are you saying that the 37-Day Lent period (up to the Triduum) is just a “Marker” … and that the Triduum is the special Category of Easter, which makes it “necessary” to re-Start your Lenten Practices … for this NEW Holy Day?

If yes, could you Cite a Source?

Hi 4love2God,

For future reference, you might consider using the quote button to make it easier to quote other users.

I was simply referring to the OP of this thread. He was quoting the ewtn article. If you go and look at the EWTN article, it references both online and offline sources, one of which is Vatican II.

To save you the trouble (and, I was admittedly curious myself) I went ahead and grabbed the source of the VII document:

  1. During Lent penance should not be only internal and individual, but also external and social. The practice of penance should be fostered in ways that are possible in our own times and in different regions, and according to the circumstances of the faithful; it should be encouraged by the authorities mentioned in Art. 22. Nevertheless, let the paschal fast be kept sacred. Let it be celebrated everywhere on Good Friday and, where possible, prolonged throughout Holy Saturday, so that the joys of the Sunday of the resurrection may be attained with uplifted and clear mind.

Source: vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19631204_sacrosanctum-concilium_en.html

Well, I don’t think this is something where the Church rigorously enforces anything. It’s not like if you violate your Lenten penance you’re in mortal sin. It’s just that Lent is a penitential season, and Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday are meant to be penitential as well. It’s really up to you HOW you choose to take on penances.

And, yes, Sundays are solemnities, so you can always cease your penance on Sundays. :slight_smile:

Hope that helps!

The liturgical season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with the start of the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on the evening of Holy Thursday.

The only law the Church imposes on us during Lent, at least in this country, are the two laws of fasting and abstinence: abstinence from meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent for anyone 14 or older, and fasting on both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday for anyone 18-59. Since Good Friday is during the Triduum rather than Lent, and since the Church still imposes both of those laws on Good Friday, I do the same with any Lenten devotion I take up by keeping it through at least Good Friday as well.

That being said, there is no requirement that I do so. Lenten penances are private devotions that are not regulated by Church law. There is no requirement that you must “give up” something for Lent, or “go the extra mile” for Lent. There is no requirement that if you do something special for Lent, you must do it for any particular period of time or in any particular manner. You can give up something for all days during Lent including Sundays, or you can leave out Sundays or any other day (such as the celebration of a birthday or anniversary). You can plan to volunteer time feeding the poor at a homeless shelter for just the first, third, and fifth Thursdays of Lent, or spend time visiting the elderly at a retirement home every weekend, or spend every morning praying Morning Prayer from the Divine Office. You could even combine two or more things.

The most specific thing you can find in the Code of Canon Law on the matter of personal penance is the first sentence of canon 1249, which says, “The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do penance each in his or her own way.” That’s it. There are no rules to question when it comes to private penance, because the person who does the penance is the one who sets the rules. Ask yourself, not others, what you promised at the start of Lent. Then do it.

During Lent we should be focusing on prayer, fasting, and alms giving when we express charity to others, in order to put us in the right spiritual disposition for a fruitful celebration of the Easter season. Turning it into a legalistic exercise doesn’t seem to me like it would be conducive to any kind of spiritual disposition likely to bear good fruit, especially in light of the fact that there’s no law to get legalistic about in the first place.

The bottom line is, yes to being charitable and no to being scrupulous. If you have a legitimately charitable reason for ending your Lenten penance with the start of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper instead of with your celebration of Easter, then do so. If the reason is selfish rather than charitable, then don’t. If you aren’t sure whether your reasoning is charitable or selfish, ask your priest or spiritual director for their advice and then follow that advice.

Smichhertz responded to my Question with a Vatican II document quote : "110. … The practice of penance should be fostered in ways that are possible in our own times and in different regions … it should be encouraged by the authorities mentioned in Art. 22.
Nevertheless, let the paschal fast be kept sacred.
Let it be celebrated everywhere on Good Friday and, where possible, prolonged throughout Holy Saturday, so that the joys of the Sunday of the resurrection may be attained with uplifted and clear mind."

Thank you for Responding.

The way I read this Quote, it appears to ONLY relate to a “Paschal Fast” (Passover is on Good Friday) … and immediately mentions Good Friday (and to prolong that Fast into Saturday, if you want to).
(The Catholic Church requires a Good Friday fast … I guess, based upon that Quote.)

But, that Quote does NOT mention Lent at all.
It certainly does not speak about prolonging that “thing” a person is giving up for Lent.

So, is this all there is about the Subject?
If so, then I don’t see this Quotation as having any bearing on the instant Issue.
Please help explain it further, if you think that I am wrong in some way.

The requirement for a Good Friday fast is a disciplinary law found in the Code of Canon Law, specifically canon 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.

The bishops of the United States have chosen to permit the faithful in this country to substitute any personal penance of their choosing in place of abstinence on the Fridays outside of Lent, but retain the requirement to follow this canon for the Fridays of Lent (including Good Friday). This authority is granted to any country’s episcopal conference by canon 1253.

There are no canons regulating what one may choose to give up or do extra for Lent in general, which makes those penances personal rather than a matter of Church law.

OP, I hope you’re not put off by one contentious poster. In fact, the rest of us are trying to help clarify for you. Every year I check CA’s Senior Apologist, Jimmy Akin’s site for the “Annual Lenten Fight.” :wink: Topics here: jimmyakin.com/2011/03/annual-lent-fight-2011-ed.html

For a more fruitful exposition on you’re question, please check the heading, “Duration,” notably:

DURATION

THE DURATION OF LENT
( jimmyakin.org/2005/02/the_duration_of.html)
LET’S COUNT THE DAYS OF LENT
( jimmyakin.org/2004/03/the_length_of_l.html)
“FORTY” DAYS
( jimmyakin.org/2005/02/40_days.html)

Videos and cokes are coming back in my house on Saturday. This is what my family has done, well, forever. Each of us chooses whether we want to refrain from our sacrifices on Sunday or not. I guess if someone wanted to go one more day, they could, but when I get up Saturday morning, I am off to Bucee’s for a coke for the first time since Fat Tuesday. :smiley:

Also going to break out my Wii U which I have hid in my closet;). My son gave up video games and he has no idea I bought it.

For me, Holy Saturday is a day of singing “Alleluia” all day. I have not choice. I haven’t had time to practice much and I am not going to practice Easter music on Good Friday.

Hi 4love2God,

My responses below:

No, the Paschal Fast is a reference to the Paschal Mystery / Triduum. That particular reference means from The Last Supper to Easter Sunday. It then, of course, clarifies that it shouldn’t be done on Easter Sunday.

No, why would it? Lent ends right before Holy Thursday. This particular quote merely emphasizes that those last few days prior to Easter Sunday are meant to be penitential.

The Church doesn’t require that someone “give up” something for Lent at all. It only labels Lent a season of penance. The practice of giving something up remains a popular practice, but all that you’re really supposed to do is keep the season penitential. How you choose to do so, is really up to you. It’s a private devotion.

No, the EWTN source cited about 6 sources in total. I just pulled one out and used that as an example. I haven’t bothered to track down the other sources.

hello Alin.

Excellent answer! I think you covered all the bases! Bravo! :thumbsup:

Glenda

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