PS 39: The Paschal Fast

Jesus arms outstretchedRemember, you can check the full document Pashcale Solemnitatis on this site, among many on the internet.

In this section, we are reminded that Friday and Saturday are both days of fasting and abstinence. Saturday, of course, is optional. This is not a Lenten observance as such, but one pointing to Easter joy.

39. The Easter fast is sacred on the first two days of the Triduum, in which according to ancient tradition the Church fasts “because the Spouse has been taken away”. (Cf. Mk 2:19-20; Tertullian, De ieiunio 2 and 13, Corpus Christianorum II, p. 1271) Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence; it is also recommended that Holy Saturday be so observed, so that the Church, with uplifted and welcoming heart, be ready to celebrate the joys of the Sunday of the Resurrection. (Cf. Ceremonial of Bishops, 295; Sacrosanctum Concilium 110)

I think the observance of Saturday is an important one. Hands please, on those who follow it in whole or in part? How many pastors encourage it? Catechumenate directors?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to PS 39: The Paschal Fast

  1. Liam says:

    I don’t. And I don’t know any people near me who do. I am old enough to remember references to noon on Holy Saturday as the marker of the end of the *Lenten* fast…but fasting through the Vigil in the decades since then (I think I first heard of it with friends who were High Church Episcopalians in the late 1980s who had a big feast on Holy Thursday and then again after their Vigil) has not even been on the radar screen in my neck of the woods. It’s not a unicorn, but it’s definitely far out on the bell curve distribution.

    • Liam says:

      Let me add that, when I was growing up, Holy Saturday was a day of considerable *busyness*. Polishing, shopping, all of the usual weekend chores compressed into one day, mending/brushing/etc Easter clothing (one of my special tasks when I was youngest but of age was to repair buttons on the white gloves of my mother and sisters), prepping food and and whathaveyou for the next day. (The previous Saturday was the major spring cleaning day of the year.) It was never associated with rest.

  2. Joyce Donahue says:

    Raising hand.

    Personally, I make a conscious effort on Holy Saturday to eat less and to refrain from anything distracting to focus on preparation for what will happen in the evening. My day begins with helping prepare and decorate the worship space and includes final rehearsals for the Exsultet and psalms.

    I am always conscious that the Vigil is the most important moment of the liturgical year, and when teaching about the Triduum, I try to convey the specialness of Saturday as a day of fasting from normal activities, anticipation and preparation. I have not, however, heard anything like that from pastors or others in any parish I have ever been in.

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