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:


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.)


1)   All Fridays of Lent.



The Law of Fast
binds all Catholics from the age of 21 until [the beginning of] 60.*  It prescribes that there should be only one [full] meal on the day appointed.  However, two [meatless] light meals or snacks (also called collation), sufficient to maintain strength according to one’s needs, may be taken during the day (in the morning and in the evening), but added together they should not equal another full meal.

On the day of fast, meat may be taken at the principal meal only, except when it is a day of [complete] abstinence when no meat may be taken at all.  One may also exchange the evening [light] meal with the day’s principal [full] meal.  
Eating between meals is not permitted, but drinking liquids such as coffee, milk, tea, juice, etc. is allowed.

The Law of 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.  Soups and gravy made from meat are also forbidden, but eggs and milk are allowed.  The number of meals and their quantity are not affected by this law.

[Some places observe
“partial abstinence” wherein meat and soup or gravy made from meat may be taken [only] once a day at the principal meal.  However, in the Philippines, there is no “partial abstinence” – either it is complete or it is not required.]

It is a mortal sin for a Catholic to neglect the applicable laws for fasting and abstinence, unless by reason of sickness or other sufficient cause a dispensation be granted to them.

There is no obligation for fast or abstinence on a Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation [even if it falls on a Friday].  Where health or ability to work would be seriously affected, the law does not oblige; however, it is best that a traditional priest or confessor should be consulted [especially in cases of doubt].

For the supplemental explanation [on fasting and abstinence in the Philippines] provided by Fr. Gerard McKee, CMRI, please read

*  The
“beginning of the 60th year” is on one’s 59th birthday.

For any other questions or clarifications, please discuss with the

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