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Lenten Guidelines 2017

Here you will find Lenten guidelines from the Office of the Bishop. Listed first is the English version of the guidelines for fasting, followed by the Spanish version and finally, the Lenten guidelines for liturgy planners and Church staff. 

 

DIOCESE OF BROWNSVILLE 

2017 Guidelines for Lent 

 

The time of Lent is to be observed by Catholics as a special season of prayer, penance, and works of charity. 

Fast and Abstinence: Ash Wednesday and Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord are the most important penitential days of the liturgical year. They are days of both fast and abstinence. All Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence. 

Canon 1250 states:  All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church. 

Canon 1251 states: Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  

Canon 1252 states: All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence; all adults are bound by the law of fast up to the beginning of their sixtieth year. Nevertheless, pastors and parents are to see to it that minors who are not bound by the law of fast and abstinence are educated in an authentic sense of penance. (Adults are those who have attained 18 years of age.)  

Canon 1253 states:  The Conference of Bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence, as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence or fast. 

In the United States, fasting on all weekdays of Lent is strongly recommended; on all Fridays of the year, the USCCB recommends that we select one or more of the following: abstinence from meat, prayer, penance (especially by eating less food) and almsgiving, for the sake of world peace. 

The rule of fasting states that only one full meal may be taken per day. Two small meals, “sufficient to maintain strength,” are allowed but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals breaks the fast but drinking liquids does not.  

Abstinence refers to the eating of meat of warm blooded animals (e.g. beef, lamb, chicken, pork). Under the present law, it does not include egg or milk products, meat broth or gravies.  

The substantial observance of the laws of fast and abstinence is a serious obligation. Those who are not able to observe the laws because of work or health related issues are excused from fasting and abstinence. The individual conscience can decide if there is a proper cause to excuse. A more serious reason should be present to excuse from the Ash Wednesday and Good Friday penance. 

Parents and teachers should see to it that even those who are not bound by the laws of the fast and abstinence because of age are brought up in an atmosphere that is conducive to a sense of penance. 

Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation: The faithful should be clearly and positively encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Penance during Lent. There should be adequate time scheduled for Confessions before Easter. When Penance services are celebrated for a large group of the faithful, individual confession and absolution is required for each penitent.  Although group penance services should not be scheduled for the last days of Holy Week, any reasonable request for the sacrament by an individual should be honored, even during the Triduum (cf. Canon 986). It is fitting that a parish-wide Penance liturgy take place toward the end of Lent. 

The duty to confess at least once a year applies only to “serious sins” (Canon 989). For the integrity of the sacrament, a member of the Christian faithful is obliged to confess in kind and in number all serious sins committed after baptism and not yet directly remitted through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, of which one is conscious after diligent examination of conscience. (Canon 988 #1). The practice of confessing only a sin or sins of personal choice is, therefore, reprobated. It is recommended to the Christian faithful that venial sins also be confessed. (Canon 988 #2) 

Easter Duty: All the faithful, after they have been initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, are bound by the obligation of receiving Holy Communion at least once a year, ordinarily, during the Easter Season. 

Baptisms, First Holy Communions, and Weddings: Lent is a time of special penance and preparation, not of special celebrations. The celebration of Sacraments of Initiation and of Weddings is discouraged during Lent, but not strictly prohibited if there is sufficient pastoral need. In the event of such need, it is strongly preferred that any of these sacraments NOT be conferred during a regular celebration of the Sunday Eucharist, and that they be characterized by simplicity and the spirit of the season. 

Funeral Masses: Funeral Masses are not allowed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday. The Funeral Rite outside of Mass, however, can be held either in church or chapel on those days, with a memorial Mass, after Easter. 

 


DIOCESIS DE ROWNSVILLE 

2017 Normas para la Cuaresma 

El tiempo de la Cuaresma deberá ser observado por los católicos como un período especial de oración, penitencia y obras de caridad. 

Ayuno y Abstinencia: El Miércoles de Ceniza y el Viernes de la Pasión y Muerte de Nuestro Señor, en particular, son los días penitenciales más importantes del año litúrgico.  Son días de ayuno y abstinencia. Todos los viernes de la Cuaresma son días de abstinencia. 

Canon 1250 declara: Todos los viernes a través del año y el tiempo de Cuaresma son días y momentos de penitencia para toda la Iglesia. 

Canon 1251 declara: La abstinencia de comer carne u otro alimento de acuerdo con las prescripciones de la Conferencia Episcopal es de observarse los viernes durante todo el año a menos que sean solemnidades; la abstinencia y el ayuno se deben observar el Miércoles de Ceniza y el Viernes de la Pasión y Muerte de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo. 

Canon 1252 declara: Todas las personas que han cumplido catorce años están obligados por la ley de la abstinencia; todos los adultos están obligados por la ley del ayuno hasta el comienzo de su sexagésimo año. Sin embargo, los pastores y los padres deben velar por que los menores que no estén obligados por la ley del ayuno y la abstinencia son educados en un auténtico sentido de la penitencia. (Los adultos son los que han cumplido los 18 años de edad.) 

Canon 1253 declara: La Conferencia Episcopal puede determinar con mayor precisión la observancia del ayuno y la abstinencia, así como sustitutos de otras formas de penitencia, sobre todo por obras de caridad y prácticas de piedad, en su totalidad o en parte, por la abstinencia o ayuno. 

En los Estados Unidos, el ayuno en todos los días de la semana de la Cuaresma es muy recomendable; todos los viernes del año, la USCCB recomienda que seleccionamos uno o más de los siguientes: la abstinencia de carne, la oración, la penitencia (sobre todo al comer menos alimentos) y la limosna, por el bien de la paz mundial. 

La regal del ayuno señala que se puede consumir sólo una comida completa al día.  Se permiten dos pequeñas comidas, “lo suficiente para mantener las fuerzas,” pero juntas no deben equivaler a otra comida completa. Comer entre comidas rompe el ayuno, pero tomar líquidos no. La regla del ayuno obliga a todos los Católico de 17 a 59 años de edad. 

La abstinencia se refiere a comer carne de animales de sangre caliente (como son: carne de res, de cordero, de pollo y de puerco). Según las normas presentes, no se incluyen los huevos, los productos lácteos (leche, queso, etc.), el consomé o lasalsas.  La norma de abstinencia obliga a todo Católico de 14 años de edad en adelante. 

La observancia substancial de las reglas para el ayuno y la abstinencia es una obligación seria.  Las personas que trabajan o que su salud les impide cumplir con estos preceptos están dispensadas de la observación del ayuno y la abstinencia.  La conciencia individual puede decidir si hay causa suficiente para su dispensa. Debe existir una razón más seria para excusar a las personas de la penitencia del Miércoles de Ceniza y del Viernes Santo. 

Los padres de familia y los maestros deben cuidar de que aun aquellos que por su edad no les obligan las leyes del ayuno y la abstinencia, son criados dentro de una ambiente que conduzca a la penitencia. 

Sacramento de Penitencia y ReconciliaciónLos fieles deben fomentarse de manera clara y positivamente a recibir el sacramento de la penitencia durante la Cuaresma. Debe haber suficiente tiempo programado para Confesiones antes de Pascua. Cuando los servicios de Penitencia se celebran por un numeroso grupo de fieles, la confesión individual y se requiere la absolución para cada penitente.  Aunque los servicios penitenciales comunitarios no deben ser programadas para los últimos días de la Semana Santa, toda solicitud razonable de la Santa Cena por un individuo debe ser honrado, incluso durante el Triduo ( cf. Canon 986 ) . Es apropiado que un Penitencia liturgia de toda la parroquia tiene lugar hacia el final de la Cuaresma. 

El deber de confesar al menos una vez al año sólo se aplica a los "pecados graves" (Canon 989). Para la integridad de la Santa Cena, un miembro de los fieles cristianos está obligado a confesar en especie y en número de todos los pecados graves cometidos después del bautismo y aún no remite directamente a través de las llaves de la Iglesia ni reconocido en la confesión individual, de los cuales uno está consciente después de un examen diligente de conciencia. (Canon 988 # 1). La práctica de la confesión sólo es un pecado o pecados de elección personal es, por lo tanto, reprobado. Se recomienda a los fieles cristianos que los pecados veniales también ser confesados. (Canon 988 # 2)  

Deber Pascual: Después de haber recibido por primera vez la Sagrada Eucaristía, todos los fieles deben cumplir con su obligación de recibir la Sagrada Comunión por lo menos una vez al año, normalmente, durante el tiempo Pascual. 

Bautismos, Primeras Comuniones y Bodas: La Cuaresma es un tiempo de penitencia y preparación especial, no de celebraciones especiales. La celebración de los Sacramentos de Iniciación y de las bodas se desaconseja durante la Cuaresma, pero no se prohíben estrictamente si hay suficiente necesidad pastoral. En caso de tal necesidad, es muy preferible que cualquiera de estos sacramentos no se otorgan durante una celebración regular de la Eucaristía dominical, y que se caracteriza por la sencillez y el espíritu de la temporada. 

Misas fúnebres No se permiten las Misas fúnebres durante el Triduo Pascual, es decir, desde la puesta del sol el Jueves Santo por la tarde, continuando al Viernes Santo, Sábado de Gloria y terminando el Domingo de Pascua a la puesta del sol.  El Rito Fúnebre Fuera de la Misa puede celebrarse o en la iglesia o en la capilla durante esos días, y una Misa memorial puede celebrarse después. 

  


 

TO ALL PRIESTS: PLEASE SHARE THESE AS IS APPROPRIATE WITH YOUR STAFF, AND LITURGY PLANNERS. 

The time of Lent is to be observed by Catholics as a special season of prayer, penance, and works of charity. 

Fast and Abstinence: Ash Wednesday and Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord are the most important penitential days of the liturgical year. They are days of both fast and abstinence. All Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence. 

Canon 1250 states:  All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church. 

Canon 1251 states: Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  

Canon 1252 states: All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence; all adults are bound by the law of fast up to the beginning of their sixtieth year. Nevertheless, pastors and parents are to see to it that minors who are not bound by the law of fast and abstinence are educated in an authentic sense of penance. (Adults are those who have attained 18 years of age.)  

Canon 1253 states:  The Conference of Bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence, as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence or fast. 

In the United States, fasting on all weekdays of Lent is strongly recommended; on all Fridays of the year, the USCCB recommends that we select one or more of the following: abstinence from meat, prayer, penance (especially by eating less food) and almsgiving, for the sake of world peace. 

The rule of fasting states that only one full meal may be taken per day. Two small meals, “sufficient to maintain strength,” are allowed but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals breaks the fast but drinking liquids does not.  

Abstinence refers to the eating of meat of warm blooded animals (e.g. beef, lamb, chicken, pork). Under the present law, it does not include egg or milk products, meat broth or gravies.  

The substantial observance of the laws of fast and abstinence is a serious obligation. Those who are not able to observe the laws because of work or health related issues are excused from fasting and abstinence. The individual conscience can decide if there is a proper cause to excuse. A more serious reason should be present to excuse from the Ash Wednesday and Good Friday penance. 

Parents and teachers should see to it that even those who are not bound by the laws of the fast and abstinence because of age are brought up in an atmosphere that is conducive to a sense of penance. 

Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation: The faithful should be clearly and positively encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Penance during Lent. There should be adequate time scheduled for Confessions before Easter. When Penance services are celebrated for a large group of the faithful, individual confession and absolution is required for each penitent.  Although group penance services should not be scheduled for the last days of Holy Week, any reasonable request for the sacrament by an individual should be honored, even during the Triduum (cf. Canon 986). It is fitting that a parish-wide Penance liturgy take place toward the end of Lent. 

The duty to confess at least once a year applies only to “serious sins” (Canon 989). For the integrity of the sacrament, a member of the Christian faithful is obliged to confess in kind and in number all serious sins committed after baptism and not yet directly remitted through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, of which one is conscious after diligent examination of conscience. (Canon 988 #1). The practice of confessing only a sin or sins of personal choice is, therefore, reprobated. It is recommended to the Christian faithful that venial sins also be confessed. (Canon 988 #2) 

Easter Duty: All the faithful, after they have been initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, are bound by the obligation of receiving Holy Communion at least once a year, ordinarily, during the Easter Season. 

Baptisms, First Holy Communions, and Weddings: Lent is a time of special penance and preparation, not of special celebrations. The celebration of Sacraments of Initiation and of Weddings is discouraged during Lent, but not strictly prohibited if there is sufficient pastoral need. In the event of such need, it is strongly preferred that any of these sacraments NOT be conferred during a regular celebration of the Sunday Eucharist, and that they be characterized by simplicity and the spirit of the season. 

Funeral Masses: Funeral Masses are not allowed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday. The Funeral Rite outside of Mass, however, can be held either in church or chapel on those days, with a memorial Mass, after Easter. 

Observance of Rubrics: The liturgical directions of the Sacramentary (Misal Romano) and the Lectionary regarding all the special Holy Week Rites must be faithfully observed. 

Gloria & Alleluia: The Gloria and Alleluia are not to be used at Lenten liturgies. Exceptions are feasts and solemnities that occur during Lent (e.g. the Solemnity of St. Joseph on March 20 and the Solemnity of the Annunciation on March 25), in which case the Gloria is sung.  

Lenten Decoration and Music: “During Lent the altar is not to be decorated with flowers, and the use of musical instruments is allowed only to support the singing. Music selections should be in keeping with the spirit of Lent. The Fourth Sunday of Lent, called Laetare Sunday, solemnities, and feasts are exceptions to this rule.” [Ceremonial of Bishops, #252] 

Veiling of Images: Crosses in the church may be covered from the conclusion of the Mass for Saturday before the fifth Sunday of Lent (April 1) until the conclusion of the celebration of the Lord's Passion on Good Friday.  

Images in the church may be covered from the conclusion of the Mass for Saturday before the fifth Sunday of Lent (April 1) until the beginning of the Easter Vigil. However, Stations of the Cross and stained glass images should not be veiled. The USCCB aptly describes the practice of veiling as a sort of fasting from sacred images, whereby the fasting culminates in a sense of adoration on Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion and in a renewed sense of awe at paschal glory on Easter. 

Draining Fonts: Holy water fonts should not be drained, nor should any other substance replace the Holy Water during Lent. The season of penance actually benefits greatly from access to the sacramental that reminds us of baptism. Holy water fonts should only be emptied of water during the Sacred Triduum—from after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday until they are refilled with the water blessed at the Easter Vigil. 

Stations of the Cross: The devotion to the Stations of the Cross utilizes a series of crosses setup to permit meditation on the Passion of our Lord. This is usually done with dedicated crosses that are fixed and blessed for this purpose, either in a church or along a path. Most of the time there are images at each Station Cross to help in this mediation on the Passion. The Stations may also be done in a classroom, or at home with the entire household, or even by oneself. Since the Stations are not a liturgical celebration but a devotion, anyone can preside. Nonetheless, parish-based Stations fittingly have a priest or a deacon preside, vested in alb and purple stole. Lay persons do not vest for leading devotions. 

HOLY WEEK 

PALM SUNDAY OF THE LORD’S PASSION 

It is strongly recommended that, in accord with liturgical norms, the Blessing of the Palms with procession be celebrated at least once, preferably at the principal Sunday liturgy. 

For the reading of the Passion at the Gospel on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, changes to the flow and structure of the Passion are to be avoided. For Good Friday, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments’ Paschale Solemnitatis (Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts (January 16, 1988) states that “the order for the celebration of the Lord's Passion (the Liturgy of the Word, the veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion) ... should be observed faithfully and religiously.” While certain sung settings of the Passion may be appropriate, interjecting non-canonical hymn texts or otherwise dividing the reading is not. In no event can the proclamation of the Passion be replaced by a Passion play. 

HOLY THURSDAY 

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper must be celebrated in the evening with procession to the altar of repose. 

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament continues until midnight. 

Church bells are rung during the Gloria at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. Afterwards, the bells should remain silent until the Gloria at the Easter Vigil.  

For pastoral reasons, one additional Mass may be celebrated during the day. 

Washing of the Feet: The circular letter Paschale Solemnitatis, No. 51 states, "The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came 'not to be served, but to serve.' This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained" (i.e. Christ the Lord teaching the Apostles the need for those who will lead his Church to make themselves humble servants.) The rubric of the 2002 Latin Roman Missal describes the rite as follows: "Depending on pastoral circumstances, the washing of feet may follow the homily. The men who have been chosen are led by the ministers to chairs prepared in a suitable place. Then the priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each man. With the help of the ministers he pours water over each one's feet and dries them." The number of men selected for the rite is not fixed. Twelve is the most common option but they may be fewer in order to adjust to the available space. The place chosen is usually within or near the presbytery so that the rite is clearly visible to the assembly. Any variations, such as hand washing, are not permitted. In other circumstances, such as retreats or so-called para-liturgies, foot-washing rites may be performed, inspired by Christ's example. In such cases none of the limitations imposed by the concrete liturgical context of the Holy Thursday Mass need apply. 

GOOD FRIDAY OF THE LORD’S PASSION 

The Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and Death should be celebrated around 3:00 p.m. For pastoral reasons this celebration may be moved to a later time. 

Other devotional celebrations are suggested and recommended at the discretion of the pastor (Viacrucis, 7 Palabras, Pésame a Maria, etc.) 

During the veneration of the cross, either a plain cross or a crucifix may be used (see Built of Living Stones, #83). Using a crucifix is a more fitting icon of what the Church commemorates that day. If there are individual venerations, every effort should be made to use only one cross, even if it takes some time. The rubrics state that “a second or third cross may be used” only if pastoral reasons prescribe individual venerations, and the number of people is “very large.” Again, while certain sung settings of the Passion may be appropriate, interjecting non-canonical hymn texts or otherwise dividing the reading is not. In no event can the proclamation of the Passion be replaced by a Passion play. 

HOLY SATURDAY 

Easter Vigil Time: The Easter Vigil on Saturday, April 15, 2017 should not start before the end of civil twilight (nightfall). The most appropriate common start time throughout the Diocese is 8:30 p.m. CDST (Central Daylight Saving Time) or later, since true darkness is essential to the nature of the Vigil. The Roman Missal & the same Circular Letter state, “The entire celebration of the Easter Vigil takes place at night.” Both the CDW and the USCCB have affirmed that “This rule is to be taken according to its strictest sense.” 

According to the rubrics for the Easter Vigil no Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass may be celebrated prior to the Easter Vigil. If a pastor feels that for pastoral reasons an additional nighttime Mass is needed AFTER the vigil, he may consult the Bishop for permission.  

The Paschal Candle: As clarified in #82 of the same Circular Letter, the paschal candle “must be made of wax” and “never be artificial.” This is so it may most authentically evoke the symbolism of Christ, the light of the world. It also hearkens to the Latin words of the Exultet, which describe the candle as molded by God’s servants from “the work of bees.” 

Disposal of Old Oils and Paschal Candles: A simple and reverent way to dispose of old remaining sacred oils or paschal candles is to have them burned in the new fire of the Easter Vigil. 

The Easter Sequence: The Sequence, Victimae Paschali Laudes (“Christians, to the Paschal Victim...” in the Lectionary), must be used before the Alleluia on Easter Sunday (GIRM #64), preferably in a sung version. It may optionally be used again on the Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy), and throughout the Easter Octave. The Pentecost Sequence (Veni Sancte Spiritus) is also obligatory.