Catholic Guidelines

+  Eucharistic Fast

  • One who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from any food or drink, with the exception only of water and medicine, for the period of at leastone hour before Holy Communion.
  • Those who are advanced in age or who suffer from any infirmity, as well as those who take care of them, can receive the Most Holy Eucharist even if they have taken something during the previous hour.

+ Holy Days of Obligation

Every Catholic who has attained the age of reason, and is not prevented by sickness or other sufficient cause, is obligated to rest from servile work and attend Holy Mass on the following days. In so far as possible they are also to abstain from those labors and business concerns which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord’s Day, or the proper relaxation of mind and body. (See Canon 1247)

  • All Sundays of the year
  • January 1 – Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
  • The Ascension of Our Lord – Observed on the seventh Sunday of Easter rather than on the Thursday after the sixth Sunday of Easter
  • August 15 – The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • November 1 – All Saints’ Day
  • December 8 – The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • December 25 - Christmas, The Nativity of Our Lord

When the following holy days fall on a Saturday or Monday, the obligation to attend Mass is abolished. They are:

January 1     +     August 15     +     November 1

Although the obligation to attend Mass when these three holy days fall on a Saturday or Monday is abolished, parishes are to continue to observe these holy days by scheduling one or more Masses at a convenient time so that people who wish to participate are able to do so.

This was decided at the November 1991 meeting of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The action was confirmed by the Congregation for Bishops on July 4, 1992.

+  Fast & Abstinence

According to the Church's Canon Law, all healthy Catholics from age 18 to 59 are required to fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and to abstain from meat on all other Fridays of Lent. Youth 14 and older are also to abstain from meat on those days. "Fasting" means that no more than one main meal is eaten daily, while in the same day no more than two partial meals are eaten which together don't equal the one main meal.