When does Lent begin, what does fasting include?

When does Lent begin, what does fasting include?

I’ve had debates about this for years, going back to my days at Franciscan University of Steubenville and have never found a definitive answer: When exactly does Lent begin and do you include Sundays in your Lenten fasting and abstinence?

Now it may seem absurd on its face: Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Not so fast. If you count the days from Ash Wednesday to Easter there are more than 40 days. So does Lent actually begin on the first Sunday of Lent? Or end on the Wednesday of Holy Week? Or are the Sundays of Lent not included?

The latter question brings me to the next question: Are you required to skip your Lenten abstinence on Sundays? My first reaction is to say, suck it up. You give up something for Lent, take the hard road, take on a little more suffering, and make it the full forty days. But, now I have people telling me that because Jesus says we don’t fast on during the wedding feast and similar things, we are required to give up our fast on Lenten Sundays.

Does anyone have anything definitive on this?

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli