Diocesan News

Lenten Regulations 2023

The penitential and grace-filled Lenten Season begins with Ash Wednesday on February 22, 2023. It is a time of hope-filled renewal as the Church journeys towards Easter. In order to assist the faithful of the Diocese of Brooklyn, our Bishop, the Most Reverend Robert Brennan wishes to draw attention to the following: 


All the faithful who have reached 14 years of age are required to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent. 


All the faithful between the ages of 18 and 59 inclusive are bound to fast on Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday. Fasting means limiting oneself to one full meal and avoiding food between meals. Light sustenance may be taken on two other occasions during the day. Coffee, tea and juice are permitted at any time. 


After they have been fully initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, all the faithful are bound to receive Holy Communion at least once a year. This precept must be fulfilled in the Easter Season unless, for a good reason, it is fulfilled at another time. By special permission, in the USA, the period for fulfilling this precept is extended to include the period from the 1st Sunday of Lent (February 26) until Pentecost (May 28). 


Sunset in Brooklyn on April 8, 2023 (Holy Saturday) will be at 7:28 pm. Since the Easter Vigil should begin after dark, the Vigil could begin between 7:30 pm and 8 pm or later and must end before dawn on Easter Sunday (April 9). 

Also to be noted: 

The “Alleluia” is not sung or said from the beginning of Lent until the Easter Vigil. Musical instruments are to be used during Lent and the Paschal Triduum only to give necessary support to the singing. 

The Church should not be decorated with flowers during Lent. Exceptions are the Solemnities of Saint Joseph (which is celebrated on March 20, 2023, this year) and the Annunciation (March 25). 

The practice of covering crosses and images in the church may be observed from Sunday, March 26. Crosses remain covered until the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday and other images until the Easter Vigil. 

Funeral Masses are not permitted during the Paschal Triduum. Funeral Rites carried out during those days make use of a Liturgy of the Word with a Rite of Farewell. 

The obligation to observe, as a whole or substantially, the penitential days specified by the Church is a serious one. Days of penance are not merely individual exercises but rather ones observed by the whole Church as the Body of Christ. 

The faithful are urged to celebrate the sacraments of the Eucharist and Penances frequently during Lent as well as reading the Word of God, praying the Stations of the Cross, praying before the Blessed Sacrament and performing acts of charity especially to the poor. 

Pastors and parents are responsible for teaching young people, who are not bound by the above regulations, an authentic sense of penance. 

All other Fridays of the year remain days of penance. The Bishops of the USA have recommended that abstinence from meat remain a penitential practice for those days but another practice of voluntary self-denial, personal penance, or charity is also encouraged. 

In prayerful communion with the candidates and catechumens, let us accompany the Lord on His way to the cross and the empty tomb. May this time of Lent unite us all more closely to the Lord in His death and His Resurrection!