Special Note: Today is a day of fasting and abstinence as we remember the suffering of Christ for our sins.
Abstinence (everybody age 14 and up) means abstaining from meat products. Fish/seafood is allowable, but remember the point is to make this a day of penance, not feasting.
Fasting (everybody aged 18-59) means limiting yourself to one regular-sized meal and two smaller meals (glorified snacks) with no eating between meals. You can choose when to eat your regular-sized meal. Exceptions are made for people who have medical issues or strenuous jobs. Pregnant and nursing moms are also excluded.
This is the saddest day of the Church year. Today, we mourn the death of our Savior. Today, we remember how He was stripped, beaten and ridiculed, abandoned by His friends and left to suffer the most cruel and painful death ever imagined because we’re sinners, and we needed Him to die to save us.
Today we fast and pray. If you can set aside your usual activities – work, school, watching television, etc. – then do so. Try to limit your speaking to saying only what is necessary. Focus your mind and heart on Jesus’ suffering, and be sure to find out when services will be held at your parish. There will be not be a Mass anywhere in the Church until the great Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday night. However, parishes have the “Celebration of the Lord’s Passion.” The altar will be completely empty – not even a cloth or a candle laid on it. The Scriptures describing Jesus’ last hours will be read, and usually a large Crucifix will be offered for people to come up and touch. After receiving the reserved Eucharist, everyone will leave the church in silence.