Friday, June 07, 2019

Last Day of Eastertide

Happy Easter!
Though Eastertide ends with Pentecost, you have one more week to fulfill your Easter Duty*, this week is your last chance this year!


the birthday of the Catholic Church!
(see Sunday's blog entry).

There is some confusion on "the end of Eastertide" and when is the last time we can fulfill our "Easter Duty" (to receive Eucharist at least once during Eastertide). The Easter Season officially ends with the Vigil of Pentecost on the Saturday before Pentecost Sunday. However, in the United States, and perhaps elsewhere, there is an indult (special permission) which extends the time period to receive Eucharist through Trinity Sunday (the First Sunday after Pentecost).   (See Fr. Gantley's answer on EWTN site.)

Precepts of the Catholic Church
Keep in mind, these are the MINIMUM requirements...

  1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor. 
    We must “sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord” (Sunday), as well as the principal feast days, known as Catholic holy days of obligation. This requires attending Mass, “and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.”
  2. You shall confess your sins at least once a year. 
    We must prepare for the Eucharist by means of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). This sacrament “continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.”
  3. You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season. 
    This “guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.”
  4. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church. 
    “The fourth precept ensures the times of ascesis (rigorous self discipline) and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.” See below for more about fasting & abstinence.
  5. You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church. 
    “The fifth precept means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.”

Fasting is reducing the amount of food you eat below normal levels. Specifically, on fast days you may eat one full meal and two smaller meals, but those two smaller together should not exceed the amount of the normal meal. Snacking is also prohibited on fast days.
All Catholics age 18 to 59 are required to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. You are excused from fasting if you have a legitimate need to eat a normal amount of food on fast days. This includes:
  • The sick or infirm, including handicapped or mentally ill people who need the nourishment or cannot make a free choice to fast
  • Pregnant or nursing women
  • Some manual laborers
Abstinence means not eating meat (fish is not considered meat in this case). All Catholics 14 and older are required to observe abstinence on these days:
  • Ash Wednesday, Good Friday (the Friday before Easter), and all Fridays in Lent.
  • Outside the U.S., this is required on all Fridays of the year, in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday.
  • In the U.S., it is still strongly recommended to observe Friday abstinence outside of Lent, but Catholics may choose to substitute another penitential practice or act of charity for these days. 
    • The point to remember is this is not optional to either abstain or choose another penitential practice or act of charity. 
    • Be consistent! It doesn't mean much if you change the practice every week.
Do I need to make confession as part of my Easter Duty?
Well, not if you are already in the state of grace. Canon 988 does not state a timeframe for going to confession - only that it must be done if one is in mortal sin. Canon 989 while providing the timeframe of "at least once a year" does not explicitly state during Eastertide. Receiving the Eucharist, however, is mandated by Canon 920.2 at least once per year and during Eastertide (paschal time). Again, if one is already in the state of grace (no unconfessed mortal sins) then reception of the Eucharist during Eastertide (Easter Duty) does not require confession. If one is in mortal sin then they must go to confession before receiving the Eucharist - SO - if one has not kept up with all the other precepts of the Church (which is a mortal sin) or is outside the state of grace, then in order to fulfill the Easter Duty of receiving the Eucharist they would have to go to confession first.

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