Mass; Holy Days; Fasting; Abstinence
The first Precept of the Church requires regular attendance at Mass on Sundays. The Church now allows attendance at a Saturday Vigil Mass to satisfy this duty.
We do not have a Vigil Mass at St Benet’s, but our sister Parish, St Edmund’s at Bungay, has Mass at 18:30 on Saturday. The notes on our Deanery include details of other neighbouring parishes who have a vigil Mass.
Holy Days of Obligation
Over many centuries, the duty of observance of Holy Days of Obligation has been treated as equivalent to the duty of attending Sunday Mass.
As of autumn, 2017, there are six Solemnities of the Church which are established in England and Wales as Holy Days of Obligation.
- The Epiphany 6 January;
- The Ascension Thursday, 40 days after Easter;
- St Peter & St Paul 29 June;
- The Assumption of Our Lady 15 August;
- The Solemnity of All Saints 1 November;
- Christmas Day 25 December.
These Feasts, apart from Christmas Day, transfer to the Sunday if they fall on Saturday or Monday.
Fasting and Abstinence
The 1983 Code of Canon Law significantly eased the requirements. They now are
- Fasting. This is compulsory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, for those aged 18 to 59 inclusive, and is defined as taking only one main meal and two snacks, (with no meat).
- On Fridays during Lent, those aged 15 and over should abstain from meat.
- For the rest of the year, follow another form of Penance. Instead of a Penance, some positive act of Christian Charity can be performed.
Note that it is still a requirement to fast for one hour before taking Holy Communion.