Days of Fast and Abstinence in the Philippines

(From the National Catholic Almanac of the Philippines, 1958 Edition)


As approved by the Holy See through the Sacred Congregation of the Council,

[only] the following are of obligation in the Philippines:


Fasting and Abstinence:

1)   Ash Wednesday

2)   Good Friday

3)   Vigil of the Immaculate Conception  –  December 7  (if it falls on a Sunday, it is not binding) 

4)   Vigil of the Nativity of Our Lord  –  December 23  (The Sacred Congregation of the Council has approved that the obligation of fast and abstinence on the Vigil of Christmas [which is December 24] will be observed on the day preceding the same Vigil [hence, December 23]; if the 23rd falls on a Sunday or feast day of obligation, the fasting and abstinence will be on December 22.)


Abstinence Alone:

1)   All Fridays of Lent.


The Law on Fasting affects all Catholics from the age of 21 until 60, unless by reason of sickness or other sufficient cause a dispensation be granted to them.

The Law on Fasting requires that only one whole meal be had on the day set for fasting, even if it does not command the total abstention of breakfast and supper, the quantity and quality of which are governed by the customs of each place.  [Chapel’s note: Usually, two light meals or snacks, also called collation, may be taken during the day, but added together they should not exceed one full meal.  Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids such as coffee, milk, tea, juice, etc. are allowed.]

The Law on Abstinence binds all faithful that have reached the age of 7.  It forbids the eating of meat and other combinations of flesh-meat on the days prohibited.  It does not forbid eggs and milk food; and the number of meals and their quantity are not affected by this law.


*  For any questions or clarifications, please discuss with the priest.


Supplemental Explanation Provided By Rev. Fr. Gerard McKee, CMRI:

In the law for Latin America and Philippines, there is simplicity.  Abstinence is complete or it’s not required.  
(The law in the US is more complex, because it does not have the exemptions of Latin America, and because of more abstinence days, making some partial is more benign and bearable.)

The above guidelines are the minimum requirements [for the Philippines] based on a [traditional] Papal Indult which was granted to it [being then part of the Spanish dominions].  One may avail [or not avail] of this privilege or dispensations without incurring guilt on their part [for those living within these territories].  However, one may do more as the world needs more penance, not less.  For example, it is more sacrificial and meritorious to observe the stricter regulationsas some faithful who live in these countries do (i.e, if one is able, he/she can keep the Friday abstinence, observe the forty  days Lenten fast, and the fast of Ember days and certain Vigils, among other things).