How to Observe Lent as a Catholic

Lent is the season of preparation for Easter in Christianity. It is a special time during which millions of Christians around the world observe prayer, penance and sacrifice by fasting and giving up certain luxuries of life during a period of 40 days, starting from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday.

While both Protestants and Catholics observe Lent, there is a notable different in their Lenten traditions.

In order to observe Lent as a Catholic, there are certain basic traditions that one must become aware of and try to adhere to. Observing these traditions properly can help you draw closer to God and grow spiritually.


  • 1

    As per the Catholic church’s rules, you should observe Ash Wednesday by attending the Mass and receiving an ash cross on your forehead by the priest. Abstain from meat on this day. Just have one main meal and two smaller meals during the course of the day. Do not eat any snacks in-between.

  • 2

    Since sacrifice is an integral part of Lent, show your faith, spirit and devotion by giving up something that you identify as a luxury instead of a necessity of life. This includes music, sweets, lengthy showers, etc. The intended motivation for giving up on the luxuries is to try and unite oneself with Jesus’ suffering while he was hanging on the cross.

  • 3

    While observing as a Catholic, grow in virtue through charity, honesty and chastity. Understand that it is all part of the Lenten journey. Prove to God that you are ready to do whatever it takes to please Him. While one should try to do virtuous deeds throughout the year, doing them during the Lent season holds more reward.

  • 4

    The Catholic church’s rules for fasting during Lent include complete abstention from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays, including Good Friday. As per the older traditions, Catholics are asked to abstain from meat on Saturdays as well during the period of Lent.

  • 5

    Make sure you attend Mass every Sunday, as well as any other day of the week when it is held, such as Fridays, Ash Friday and Holy Thursday.

  • 6

    Try to make a humble meal at least once a week during Lent. You would have spent an extra bit of money on the meal had you been eating meat and dessert. Donate the money that you saved to the Catholic church.

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