Abstinence Catholics over 14 years of age are bound to the obligation of abstinence. Abstinence is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent. On days of abstinence, meat may not be used at all.
Fast Catholics over 18 and up to the beginning of their sixtieth year are bound to the obligation of fasting. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are the days of fasting. On these days, only one full meal is allowed. Two other meatless meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one's needs, but together should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and fruit juices, are allowed.
Lent is a period of special penitential observance. Following the instructions of the Holy See, the Bishops of the United States have declared that the obligation to fast and to abstain from meat still binds on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In this matter, the faithful enjoy freedom in conscience to excuse themselves, but as the Bishops state, "no Catholic Christian will lightly excuse himself from so hallowed an obligation" on these days. In addition, the tradition of abstinence from meat on the other Fridays of Lent is preserved. Again, the Bishops express their confidence that "no Catholic Christian will lightly hold himself excused from this penitential practice."
Regarding all the other weekdays of Lent, we strongly recommend participation in daily Mass and the voluntary observance of fasting. Commendable, particularly during Lent, is generosity to local, national and world programs of sharing our abundance, the traditional Lenten Devotions and all the self-denial summed up in Christian concept of mortification.