Monday, October 9, 2023
2024 Traditional Catholic Fasting and Abstinence Calendar

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As a follow-up to the significant research I have done regarding Traditional (Roman and Eastern) Catholic fasting and abstinence, I have put together a 2024 fasting and abstinence calendar for my devotional purposes. This is a follow-up to a similar one I did in 2022 and 2023.

Traditional Catholic Fasting Rules:

Fasting: Fasting refers to how much food we eat. It means taking only one meal during a calendar day. The meal should be an average-sized meal as overeating at the one meal is against the spirit of the fast. Fasting generally means that the meal is to be taken later in the day. Along with the one meal, up to two snacks (technically called either a collation or frustulum) are permitted. These are optional, not required. Added up together, they may not equal the size of the one meal. No other snacking throughout the day is permitted. Fasting does not affect liquids, aside from the Eucharistic Fast which is a separate matter.

Abstinence: Abstinence in this context refers to not eating meat. Meat refers to the fleshmeat of mammals or fowl. Beef, poultry, lamb, etc are all forbidden on days of abstinence. Abstinence does not currently prohibit animal byproducts like dairy (e.g. cheese, butter, milk) or eggs, but in times past they were prohibited. Fish is permitted along with shellfish and other cold-blooded animals like alligators. In times past, days of fast were always days of abstinence as well; however, not all days of abstinence were days of mandatory fasting.

Partial Abstinence: Partial Abstinence refers to eating meat only at the principal meal of the day. Days of partial abstinence do not permit meat to be eaten as part of the collation or the frustulum. Partial abstinence started only in 1741 under Pope Benedict XIV as a concession and as part of a gradual weakening of discipline. Beforehand, days of abstinence were days of complete abstinence.

Fasting, therefore, refers to the quantity of food and the frequency of eating. Abstinence refers to what may or may not be eaten.

Calendar Notes:

1. Partial Abstinence is a modern invention and is not part of this calendar. Abstinence is always full, never partial. 

2. All Days of Lent, aside from Sundays, are days of fasting and abstinence. Sundays are days only of abstinence.

3. For Lent only, abstinence refers to all animal products (e.g., dairy, butter, eggs) in addition to meat. This includes Sundays.

4. January 22nd is in the USA only an obligatory day of penance for offenses against the dignity of human life.

5. This calendar keeps the 1954 Roman Catholic Calendar and the pre-1917 practice of anticipating Vigils on Saturday that fall on Sunday in a given year.

6. Major Fasts: Great Lent (March 2 - April 16), Apostles Fast (June 3 - June 28)Dormition Fast (Aug 1 - Aug 14)St. Martin's Lent (Nov 14 - Dec 24).

7. Dominican Specific Fasting Days: April 29, August 3, and October 6 are not on the calendar but will be observed by Dominican Tertiary per the 1923 Rule (the last one before Vatican II). Same with all Fridays of the year, which Dominicans are asked to keep as days of fasting.

8. Days of fasting generally include all of the Major Fasts as noted above, in addition to the following days when they fall outside those periods: Ember Days, Vigils of the Apostles, and Vigils for Major Feasts. Rogation Days were often days of abstinence but not fast.

9. Saturday Abstinence used to be obligatory year-round with some exceptions for days "as often as no major solemnity (e.g., Christmas) occurs on Saturday, or no infirmity serves to cancel the obligation.” One exception granted in some places was for all Saturdays of the Christmas Season to be exempted.

10. Above all, this calendar goes far beyond the mere "minimums," which are virtually non-existent, and attempts to present concrete ways for Catholics to actually fast in the manner our forefathers did.

Not listed but certainly recommendable based on the Early Church's practice of Wednesday penance (and based on the wishes of Our Lady of Mount Carmel), would be to also observe abstinence year-round on Wednesdays (beyond the dates noted on the calendar). Such a practice would be commendable on all additional Wednesdays of the year with exceptions whenever either a Holy Day of Obligation, Former Holy Day of Obligation, or First Class Feast falls on Wednesday.

Want to learn more about the history of fasting and abstinence? Check out the Definitive Guide to Catholic Fasting and Abstinence.

Digital Version:

To order a digital .ics file of the above calendar that can be easily imported into your calendar application (e.g., Outlook, Google, Apple, etc), order below. The file is only $4.95. I will email you the relevant .ics file within 24 hours of your order. The file will have relevant details and links with more information to help you live out the recommended traditional Catholic fasts.

The file is only $4.95. Please order it by clicking here.

Note that the file is a free benefit to all my Patreon members. So, if you become a patron, you will get that and many other benefits.


5 comment(s):

del_button January 2, 2024 at 4:31 AM
Anonymous said...

Good day! Is April 30 a Rogation day as well, because I noticed it is also Recommended Abstinence as well?

del_button January 2, 2024 at 6:58 AM
Matthew said...

April 30 is the day before Ss. Philip and James

del_button January 29, 2024 at 10:33 AM
Anonymous said...

I ordered the calendar and received it. However, it won't let me download into Google Calendar -- only Outlook, and that is not what I want to us. How can I download it into Google Calendar? Thanks.

del_button January 29, 2024 at 10:38 AM
Matthew said...

I imported it easily to Google Calendar on my desktop browser. Try that. If not, you can ask someone you know who uses Google Calendar to help you

del_button January 31, 2024 at 12:24 PM
Anonymous said...

Thank you for your effort here, I find this useful, and it's an impressive compilation.

If you don't mind some feedback:
you have chosen to represent this with a combinatorial color scheme; so, red represents purple (abstinence) plus [obligatory] fasting. Gray is purple plus [recommended] fasting.

You also have time dimensions which are obfuscated by the current combinatorial scheme (modern obligatory was probably also *previously* obligatory, but this is not captured in the calendar - so are all modern obligatory/recommended fasting also previously obligatory/recommended? are modern recommended fasting previously obligatory fasting?)

So my two cents is that this is really two calendars: a 'modern' and an 'forefathers' one

as far as colors go, you would still have a lot of dimensions (abstinence, fasting, and recommended vs obligatory), but it would be easier.

The cherry on top would be two colors on the same day, instead of single-color days. Then you can do just tint for recommend vs obligatory, e.g:

red for abstinence, dark red/light red for obligatory/recommended; blue for fasting, dark blue/light blue for obligatory/recommended

Then it would be easy to 'pick a calendar' and decide what's important

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