Holy Week: Holy Saturday

73. On Holy Saturday the Church is, as it were, at the Lord’s tomb, meditating on his passion and death, and on his descent into hell,75 and awaiting his resurrection with prayer and fasting. It is highly recommended that on this day the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer be celebrated with the participation of the people (cf. n. 40).76 Where this cannot be done, there should be some celebration of the Word of God, or some act of devotion suited to the mystery celebrated this day.

74. The image of Christ crucified or lying in the tomb, or the descent into hell, which mystery Holy Saturday recalls, as also an image of the sorrowful Virgin Mary can be placed in the church for the veneration of the faithful.

75. On this day the Church abstains strictly from the celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass.77 Holy Communion may only be given in the form of Viaticum. The celebration of marriages is forbidden, as also the celebration of other sacraments, except those of Penance and the Anointing of the Sick.

76. The faithful are to be instructed on the special character of Holy Saturday.78 Festive customs and traditions associated with this day on account of the former practice of anticipating the celebration of Easter on Holy Saturday should be reserved for Easter night and the day that follows.

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Holy Week: Good Friday

58. On this day, when “Christ our passover was sacrificed,”63 the Church meditates on the passion of her Lord and Spouse, adores the cross, commemorates her origin from the side of Christ asleep on the cross, and intercedes for the salvation of the whole world.

59. On this day, in accordance with ancient tradition, the Church does not celebrate the Eucharist: Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful during the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion alone, though it may be brought at any time of the day to the sick who cannot take part in the celebration.64

60. Good Friday is a day of penance to be observed as of obligation in the whole Church, and indeed through abstinence and fasting.65

61. All celebration of the sacraments on this day is strictly prohibited, except for the sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick.66 Funerals are to be celebrated without singing, music, or the tolling of bells.

62. It is recommended that on this day the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer be celebrated with the participation of the people in the churches (cf. n. 40).

63. The Celebration of the Lord’s Passion is to take place in the afternoon, at about three o’clock. The time will be chosen which seems most appropriate for pastoral reasons in order to allow the people to assemble more easily, for example shortly after midday, or in the late evening, however not later than nine o’clock.67

64. The Order for the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion (the Liturgy of the Word, the adoration of the cross, and Holy Communion), that stems from an ancient tradition of the Church, should be observed faithfully and religiously, and may not be changed by anyone on his own initiative.

65. The priest and ministers proceed to the altar in silence and without any singing. If any words of introduction are to be said, they should be pronounced before the ministers enter.

The priest and ministers make a reverence to the altar prostrating themselves. This act of prostration, which is proper to the rite of the day, should be strictly observed, for it signifies both the abasement of “earthly man,”68 and also the grief and sorrow of the Church.

As the ministers enter the faithful should be standing, and thereafter should kneel in silent prayer.

66. The readings are to be read in their entirety. The responsorial psalm and the chant before the Gospel are to be sung in the usual manner. The narrative of the Lord’s passion according to John is sung or read in the way prescribed for the previous Sunday (cf. n. 33). After the reading of the passion a homily should be given, at the end of which the faithful may be invited to spend a short time in meditation.69

67. The General Intercessions are to follow the wording and form handed down by ancient tradition maintaining the full range of intentions so as to signify clearly the universal effect of the passion of Christ, who hung on the cross for the salvation of the whole world. In case of grave public necessity the local Ordinary may permit or prescribe the adding of special intentions.70

In this event the priest is permitted to select from the prayers of the Missal those more appropriate to local circumstances, in such a way however that the series follows the rule for General Intercessions.71

68. For veneration of the cross, let a cross be used that is of appropriate size and beauty, and let one of the forms for this rite as found in the Roman Missal be followed. The rite should be carried out with the splendor worthy of the mystery of our salvation: both the invitation pronounced at the unveiling of the cross, and the people’s response should be made in song, and a period of respectful silence is to be observed after each act of veneration—the celebrant standing and holding the raised cross.

69. The cross is to be presented to each of the faithful individually for their adoration since the personal adoration of the cross is a most important feature in this celebration; only when necessitated by the large numbers of faithful present should the rite of veneration be made simultaneously by all present.72

Only one cross should be used for the veneration, as this contributes to the full symbolism of the rite. During the veneration of the cross the antiphons, “Reproaches,” and hymns should be sung, so that the history of salvation be commemorated through song.73 Other appropriate songs may also be sung (cf. n. 42).

70. The priest sings the invitation to the Lord’s Prayer which is then sung by all. The sign of peace is not exchanged. The Communion Rite is as described in the Missal.

During the distribution of Communion, Psalm 21 or another suitable song may be sung. When Communion has been distributed the pyx is taken to a place prepared for it outside of the church.

71. After the celebration, the altar is stripped; the cross remains however, with four candles. An appropriate place (for example, the chapel of repose used for reservation of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday) can be prepared within the church, and there the Lord’s cross is placed so that the faithful may venerate and kiss it, and spend some time in meditation.

72. Devotions such as the “Way of the Cross,” processions of the passion, and commemorations of the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary are not, for pastoral reasons, to be neglected. The texts and songs used, however, should be adapted to the spirit of the Liturgy of this day. Such devotions should be assigned to a time of day that makes it quite clear that the Liturgical celebration by its very nature far surpasses them in importance.74 

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The Stations of the Cross

Lenten Regulations for the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois


No meat allowed:
Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent.
Applies only to those over the age of 14.

Fasting – eating only one full meal per day:
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Applies only to those from 18 to 59 years of age.
Two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength,
may be taken according to each one’s needs,
but together they should not equal another full meal.
Eating between meals is not permitted on these two days,
but liquids, including water, milk, and fruit juices, are allowed.

When health or ability to work would be seriously affected, the law does not oblige.

To disregard completely the law of fast and abstinence
is seriously sinful.

The Bottom Line:
Eat only one, meatless meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Abstain from meat (while otherwise, eating normally) on every other Friday, and you should be good to go,
for the next 40 days.

Sundays are not part of Lent. Eat what you want!

Doctor Denton Details Simple Fasting Techniques and Related Benefits

A few simple recommendations:

Follow our Lenten calendar. Make Fridays, perhaps even Wednesday, your days to fast.

Start slowly – no meat. Then extend this to a low carbohydrate/ low fat day with water, a small piece of fish, honey on whole grain bread, a spinach salad with olive oil and a touch of vinegar.

Drink water over coffee, soda, or fruit drinks. If you need something else, or your caffeine headache is kicking in, the answer is tea. Try green tea as the primary choice followed by herbal teas or fruit teas such as lemon tea, hot apple spice or chamomile.

Remember prayer time in the morning to set the right priorities. Start the day right and you will finish right. A little walk in the evening or even midday will ward off those urges for sweets.

The truth is, fasting is extremely healthy for the body if the fast is not extreme. By that I mean not performed for days or weeks at a time.

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Like Jesus Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the desert … Lent is preparation for our Catholic mission.


Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday, is a time of personal penance and conversion.

During this 40-day period, Catholics typically fast and abstain from various foods, as well as certain activities, while adopting other traditional practices, with the general intention of:

1) Honoring Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world.

2) Advancing in our own personal struggle against the forces of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

3) Helping to make the world a bit more like Heaven.

Cutting back on television and other forms of popular entertainment, while meditating more frequently on the birth, public life, and Passion of Jesus Christ, we hope to better appreciate all that God does for us, and greatly benefit from the example of the only perfect human ever to walk the earth.

Fasting and abstaining from certain foods, we soon begin to reassert a certain mastery over the desires of our flesh.

Shortly confronted by what should now be an obvious “hole” in our normal, everyday schedule, we prudently “fill” that time with prayer.

Praying … we strive to hear the voice of God.

What is that “voice” telling us?

Listen frequently (and very carefully) over the next 40 days and 40 nights, and then you’ll know.

It doesn’t get much simpler than that!

On-line Resources for Lent

Jerusalem patriarch hopes prayer and fasting will ease drought

Jerusalem, Israel, Dec 1, 2010 / 03:22 am (CNA).- The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, has asked Christians in the Holy Land to join in prayer and fasting for the relief of a seven-year drought.

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Why Do Catholics (like Jesus) Fast and Abstain?


The Church speaks of the three pillars of Lent – Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving – because there is a strong connection, or there should be, between the three. Fasting and other forms of self-denial, as spiritual practices of materially subduing and controlling the physical appetites of the body, helps us, by God’s grace, to enable the soul to more perfectly and freely pray.  This leads to a deeper union with God and thus we become better stewards of the gifts God has given to us, freeing us to more effectively care for our neighbor, especially those in greater than we. When I was a small boy, my mother would encourage me (it’s probably more accurate to say she required me) during Lent to give up things I would normally buy with my allowance.  The money I saved could and would be used to assist those less fortunate we were.

God gave our first parents, Adam and Eve many gifts and blessings that were in a sense before their nature and, therefore, before our’s too. We know that Adam and Eve possessed Sanctifying Grace, infused with the supernatural virtues of faith, hope and charity. This is what is meant when you hear the phrase, “Adam and Eve were created in a state of original justice.” They were created for a supernatural end or purpose… to attain heaven and an everlasting communion with God. They were also given certain gifts, called preternatural gifts, that would enable them to continue their “walk with God” – (1) bodily immortality, (2) integrity, and (3) infused knowledge.

But they were also allowed by God to be tempted by the devil, not so that they would sin, but so that they could freely choose to love God who created them freely and in freedom.  Their free will would not have been free at all if there was never an opportunity for them to choose anything other than the Good which is God. If they had chosen God over the serpent, these gifts would have been passed on to us an our inheritance, but we know they sinned and lost these gifts, therefore, we, their descendants, could not receive what they no longer possessed to pass on.

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