Sundays in Lent: Part II

by Jimmy Akin

in Liturgical Year

Are Sundays part of Lent? This question often arises because of the custom (mentioned in Part I) of many people giving themselves a break from penance on Sundays in Lent.

The answer is yes, Sundays are part of Lent. Here is the definition of Lent from the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar:

Lent runs from Ash Wednesday until the Mass of the Lord’s Supper exclusive [no. 28].

There’s nothing in that about Sundays not counting, so Sundays are indeed part of Lent.

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Paul Bernacchio February 25, 2009 at 6:44 pm

I am a cradle Catholic and until just recently I never heard of this idea that Lent doesn’t include Sundays. I can accept the rational that every Sunday we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection and if you do the math. Anyway it works for me

Burnt Marshwiggle February 25, 2009 at 7:30 pm

So are there 46 days of Lent then?

frank dispenza February 27, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Technically, Sundays are not part of Lent. Although we celebrate them liturgically as part of Lent, the Lord’s Day cannot be a day of fast and abstinence. Six weeks of Monday through Saturday gives you 36 days. If you add to them Ash Wednesday and the three days after it, you get the 40 days of Lent. go to this website it is very helpful.

bill912 February 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm

The link Jimmy gives (above) makes it pretty clear that Jimmy is right.

Richard February 28, 2009 at 1:19 pm

I posted this (with some other quotes) on one of your other 40 day threads.
From the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia:
“From what has been said it will be clear that in the early Middle Ages Lent throughout the greater part of the Western Church consisted of forty weekdays, which were all fast days, and six Sundays.”
It also makes it pretty clear that that was still the view in 1911.
So yes, Sundays are part of Lent, but they are traditionally not fasting days.
If you like, there are 46 days in Lent, but only 40 fasting days.

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