Do Sundays Count in Lent?

I realize that giving something up for Lent is a personal devotion and not an obligation so we can make our own decisions about this. However, does the Church have any position on this? If we choose to give something up for Lent is it best to give it up the entire 6 and a half weeks or should we allow ourselves to have the thing we give up on Sundays?

When I was 11 my teacher told me that when it comes to lent you are making a sacrafice so when you give something up you don’t have to give it up all together. For example if you have a jelly doughnut 7 days a week and for lent you give up having a doughnut 6 of those 7 days and have that doughnut on Sunday there is no problem with it.

the general principle is that we do not fast when the Bridegroom is present, so the penances are lifted on Sunday, because every Sunday is an Easter celebration.

If this question arises from a minimalist approach to fasting, prayer and almsgiving, what is the least I can do for it to “count”, or what foods can I “get away with” then the entire practice is probably a waste of time.

Sunday’s do not “count” in Lent…

Lent is 40 days… from Ash Wednesday to Easter… excluding the Sundays…
It wouldn’t add up to 40 if you included the Sundays… :confused:

see here

and here


Of course everything depends on the devotion you choose for lent. If you decide to give up something for Lent, then it is reasonable to allow yourself to indulge on Sundays (but not to excess). On the other hand, if you are doing something more positive (say praying the rosary, reading scripture for 30 minutes, etc) then I think it would certainly be best to continue that practice even on Sundays.


This is an interesting link on the history of Lent… and how the “fasting rules” developed over time…

No, I ask this question since last year I went 4 weeks into Lent without drinking a coke since I gave it up but then it was Sunday and someone offered me one and explained to me that I should not be giving it up on Sundays. To me, this kind of defeats the purpose when it is just one desirable item. I would say most people can go 6 days without something they like knowing they can splurge in it on the seventh. It would be a sacrifice but not a hard one. An exception to this would be all meat or all deserts or all sodas. That would be such a hard thing to give up for all 6 1/2 weeks that one should enjoy it on Sundays as it is the celebration of the Resurection. However, any little item like chocolate, coke, candy, one specific kind of meat, etc. is too easy to just give it up for 6 out of 7 days. Also, Jesus didn’t go to the desert for 6 days, come out for the seventh and have a party and then go back.

Just to add to that a little, if a person is trying to overcome a particularly harmful or sinful behaviour and chooses Lent to do this excluding Sundays would defeat their purpose.

Humm, we DO call them Sundays IN or OF Lent, not Sundays surrounding Lent.

In days when fasting was a regular feature of weekdays during Lent, it’s true that Sundays were not included in the Lenten fast. I think that’s the source of the thought that our personal penances do not apply to Sundays.

If I give up something, or DO something (and one can hardly do something extra without giving up something such as time), and I say this is for the Lenten season, then it seems to me that Sundays in/of Lent are included.

Just a thought…

The disciplines should apply on all days of Lent from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday.

The only exception to this is the 4th Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday), which is specifically set aside for this purpose.