Lenten, Easter regulations
Lenten and Easter regulations, as well as Nights for Confession, have been provided by the archdiocese.
The Lenten season
A distinction is to be made between Lent and the Easter Triduum. Strictly speaking, Lent ends with the beginning of the Triduum on Holy Thursday. The Ordo notes: “Lent runs from Ash Wednesday until the Mass of the Lord’s Supper exclusive on Holy Thursday.”
Fasting and abstinence
Fasting is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all Catholics who are 18 years of age but not yet 59. Those who are bound to fast may take only one full meal. Two smaller meals are permitted if necessary to maintain strength according to each one’s needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted.
Abstinence from meat is to be observed by all Catholics 14 years or older on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and on all Fridays of Lent. The
determination of certain days as obligatory days of penance should not be understood as limiting the occasions for Christian penance.
Maintaining the spirit of the season of Lent
The Spirit of the season of Lent should be maintained throughout the weeks of Lent. The obligation to observe penitential days of the church is a very important part of our spiritual life. Individual circumstances must be taken into account, but in general, people should seek to do more rather than less, since fast and abstinence on the days prescribed should be considered a minimal response to the Lord’s call to penance and conversion of life.
Daylight Savings Time
Pastors are reminded that daylight savings time this year will begin at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13, which is the Fifth Sunday of Lent.
The Roman Missal states: “The entire celebration of the Easter Vigil must take place during the night, so that it begins after nightfall and ends before daybreak on the Sunday.” No Mass may precede the Easter Vigil. The United States Naval Observatory states that on Holy Saturday, March 26, the beginning of night is 7:40 p.m. Central Daylight Time. Therefore, in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the Easter Vigil Mass may not begin before 8 p.m. Central Daylight Time. Only one Easter Vigil Mass is to be celebrated in each parish.
Weddings, baptisms and funerals
Weddings may not be celebrated on Sundays of Lent, during the Easter Triduum or on Holy Saturday after the Vigil.
The Roman Missal states that baptism is one of the four parts of the Easter Vigil, celebrated “as day approaches, with new members reborn in Baptism.” The RCIA is geared and planned for the reception of the sacraments of initiation at the Vigil. The Rite of Baptism of Children states: “To bring out the Paschal character of baptism, it is recommended that the sacrament be celebrated during the Easter Vigil or on Sunday when the Church commemorates the Lord’s resurrection.” While Baptisms during Lent are discouraged in normative circumstances, it nonetheless remains the prerogative of the pastor after consultation with the parents to decide on celebrating a baptism during Lent.
Funerals may be celebrated on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, but not within the context of Mass. The Eucharist may not be celebrated or distributed at a funeral on these days.
Archdiocesan nights for confession
The first three Wednesdays in March (March 2, 9 and 16) have been designated as the archdiocesan “Nights for Confession.” On these dates, the sacrament of penance is to be available in all churches from 5 to 6:30 p.m.