Through prayer, we raise our hearts and minds to God in thanksgiving and praise. Prayer is our "vital and personal relationship with the true and living God." During Lent, we place special empahsis on prayer and contemplation on the Passion and Death of our Lord through expressions of popular piety such as Stations of the Cross and veneration fo the Crucified Christ.
Abstinence is a penitential practice consisting of refraining from the consumption of meat and is to be observed by all Catholics who are 14 years of age and older. Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and the Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence. Pastors and parents are encouraged to see that children who are not bound by the obligation to fast and abstain are led to appreciate an authentic sense of penance.
In addition to abstinence, fasting is to be observed by all Catholics between the ages of 18-59 years (inclusive). On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, one full meal is allowed. Two smaller meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to one's needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids are allowed. Note: Those who are unable to observe the above regulations due to ill health or other serious reasons are urged to practice other forms of self-denial that are suitable to their condition.
The foundational call of Christians to charity is a frequent theme of the Gospels. During Lent, we are asked to focus more intently on "almsgiving," which means donating money or goods to the poor and performing other acts of charity. As one of the three pillars of Lenten practice, almsgiving is "a witness to fraternal charity" and "a work of justice pleasing to God." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2462).