It may not be considered a holy day of obligation but for millions of Roman Catholics across the globe, Ash Wednesday signals the start of the Lenten season of sacrifice and fasting leading up to Easter.
In the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, which includes Akron, services are centered in major cathedrals such as St. Bernard's in downtown Akron and the headquarters church of the Diocese, St. John's in downtown Cleveland. Catholics in Canton and Youngstown are in the Youngstown Diocese and also observing the season.
There have been some limited exceptions of the meatless Friday, notably St. Patrick's Day when consumption of corned beef is commonplace.
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(Cleveland Catholic Diocese) Our observance of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 13 February 2013, a day of fast and abstinence for Catholics.
About the Lenten Season
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of universal fast and abstinence. Fasting is obligatory for all who have completed their 18th year and have not yet reached their 60th year. Fasting allows a person to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may be taken, not to equal one full meal. Abstinence (from meat) is obligatory for all who have reached their 14th year.
If possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night) as the "paschal fast" to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, and to prepare ourselves to share more fully and to celebrate more readily his Resurrection.
Fridays in Lent are obligatory days of complete abstinence (from meat) for all who have completed their 14th year.