February 5, 2018
Bishop Ronald W. Gainer has released the following message regarding the Ash Wednesday obligations of fast and abstinence and its coincidence with Valentine’s Day this year.
This year Ash Wednesday coincides with Valentine’s Day (February 14), a largely secular celebration, particularly in the United States. There have been inquiries if a dispensation from the obligations to fast and abstain from meat will be given. As Catholics, we recognize Ash Wednesday as the solemn beginning of a period of prayer, penance, and works of charity. Its spiritual importance is evidenced by the large number of faithful choosing to attend Mass on this day. In view of the significance of Ash Wednesday, the obligations of fast and abstinence are naturally the priority in the Catholic community. Valentine’s Day can appropriately be celebrated on another day, such as Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which happens to be Mardi Gras, a time of celebration prior to the Lenten journey.
Additional information about the meaning and observance of Lent can be found at www.hbgdiocese.org/lent
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