Can You Break Your Lenten Promise on Sundays?


I have another Lent question! I know that Lent is 40 days from the start of Ash Wednesday to Easter minus Sundays. In multiple sources, I have read about how you are allowed to break your Lenten promise on Sundays as it is a joyful day. However, this past week, in my parish’s bullentin it says, “Only on the 4th Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (Rose Sunday) are you allowed to break your Lenten abstinence. You are to keep the Lenten abstinence on all other Sundays of Lent.”

I am a bit torn on which is right…I believe I’ve read that it can also be personal preference, just between you and God.

Thank you! God bless you!

According to the “older tradition”, which I follow, the Fast is not enforced on Sundays. So eat hearty without being a glutton. So I Fast 6 days a week and then celebrate Sundays with a big meal with family after Mass.

I believe, but I’m not sure, that the new law states that during Lent one must Fast on all Fridays and on Good Friday (plus Ash Wednesday). Other than that I think they use words like “encourage” people to do more.

Probably wrong on that but then again I follow the old law.

Thank you!!

Sundays are the highest of feast days. We do not fast or do penance on Sundays. Therefore, one is not “breaking” anything by doing it on Sunday. Moreover, Lenten sacrifices are purely voluntary. You can do or not do whatever you please.

That is unfortunate, since it’s not true. It is setting up the impression that voluntary sacrifices of Lent (which are pious practices) are somehow regulated by the Church. They are not. This is not a doctrine or a discipline. It is a private devotional practice. It is encouraged by the Church but it does not fall under any sort of law that has “rules”.

This bulletin annoucement is very misguided.

it comes down to your own personal practice, there are many that saying breaking a fast on Sunday’s defeats the purpose. Did Jesus say oh I fasted for 40 days just don’t count the sabbath day. Others would say that Sunday is a feast day and we don’t fast on a feast day. Both are good pius practices.

For me my fast, or actually penance, is fasting from products with gluten for all but 3/4 meals, also exercising multiple times a week. Both are actually penances, the fasting from a certain type of food is difficult I’m missing out on many foods that I would normally eat. Exercises is a pence as well, I’m putting my body through physical stress for my benefit. I’m going to eat gluten on Sunday’s but that isn’t because it is sunday and has more to do with trying to stay committed to the diet. I may or may not work out on Sunday, I have to talk to my spiritual director about it first.

Again it comes down to your personal choice.

Note: I’m doing prayer and alms giving as well, but that doesn’t apply to the thread.

many people will break their fast on the feast of St. Joseph, being that it is a solemnity and there are many great Catholic Traditions surrounding this solemnity may force people to break it.:slight_smile:

Not only that but abstinence in a Lenten context usually refers to not eating meat. I’ve never heard of that applied to Sundays.

To me it seems very superficial to be looking for such loopholes.

It is only 40 days, and it seems that for this season one should commit to sacrifice, prayer, alms giving.

My 2 cents

To be technical, the 40 days of Lent don’t include Sundays, but I am willing to sacrifice on Sundays – I was just confused and asking a question. :shrug:

You may choose to break your fast on Sunday, but it’s always a good idea to still exercise some moderation.

It’s not a loophole. It is simply a fact that Sundays are not penitential days.


All I know is that when you make a promise durning lent, you usally do it threw at lest up to Good Friday,But some people, can,t even get threw the frist week, wit out breaking their Lent Promise.

I once heard a priest say that it’s your sacrifice, so you decide what it means.

If you want to sacrifice Monday - Saturday, that’s fine. If you want to avoid your sacrifice on Sunday, that’s fine, too.

I once read that in the early Church you were not supposed to do penance on the Sundays of Lent because it is a celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection.

The problem with relaxing what you have decided to give up for lent, on Sundays, opens the door tor you to fail during the rest of the week. Kinda like someone who knows smoking cigarettes has a grip on their health and gives it up for lent – when they go back to it on Sunday as a way of celebrating the Resurrection, their will power is thereby weakened and they will have difficulty keeping their resolution for the rest of lent.

As for fasting, it is not required to fast on Sundays, but folks will need to know their own power of getting back on course for the following days. Enjoy full Sunday meals, but watch overindulgence.


Yes, I’m planning to eat meat tomorrow! Been looking forward to it since Wednesday.