Giving Up Something for Lent, except on Sundays?

For Lent, I always give something up for the entire Lent season. Somebody I know has mentioned that they have always given up something for Lent also, but they say Sundays, being the Lord’s day, they are allowed to take up what they gave up for Lent. For example, they give up chocolate for Lend, but on the Sundays during Lent they eat chocolate. Does any body know if this is commonly practiced, or if this is commonly not sanctioned? I know giving something up is totally optional, so I guess I am looking for some good resources to find out if this is totally OK, or if this person should reflect more on the giving up aspect.

I think your friend is right. I recall St. Francis said “Only a Devil would fast on a feast day”, which Sunday is. So fast Mon-Sat.

As you said, giving up something for Lent is optional. As such, it is not regulated. If someone wanted to give up chocolate only on Tuesdays and Thursdays during Lent, they could do that.

If you’re looking for further info, Jimmy Akin has posted a bunch about Lent, including further commentary on the age-old “Sundays Controversy”:

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I don’t understand this idea of giving something up and then not giving it up on Sunday. Yes, Sunday is the Lord’s day, but I’m fairly sure the fasting is not supposed to be done on Sundays, i.e., limiting the amount of food eaten (at least that’s what the canons our churches have in common say). I personally do not see it as a real sacrifice because one is only giving it up for 6 days and then a break, and then 6 days and a break, etc. Going 40 days without something is a different story. When did this idea come about of permitting what was given up?

In Christ,

I never heard of the “exception clause” until I got to college. I’m not sure where it originated. :shrug:

I think we need to be careful about how far we go with it. Sundays during Lent are penitential, even though they are Sundays. That’s why we don’t sing the Gloria, we don’t sing Alleluia, the sanctuary is to be only minimally decorated, etc. If Sundays during Lent were not penitential, then there would be no reason for these things.

I will say, though, that for me, it is usually more difficult for me to take a break on Sundays. When I give up candy for Lent, by week 2, I’ve grown used to it and it sort of fades into the background of my mind. When I allow myself to have some on Sunday, I crave it all the more on those other 6 days.

Just something to think about. :slight_smile:

I am giving up a lot of computer time as I find I can spend a lot of time playing about.

A friend of mine gives up wine for Lent except for saints Feast Days…:smiley:

Those who truly wish to do something positive for themselves and the Church will make a diligent effort to abstain from communion in the hand, totally, permanently, without exception.

Even on the off-chance that your faith is not strengthened, you will be setting a good example for younger Catholics, and delivering a body-shot to Satan at the same time.

There is no down side.

Sundays are not counted in the 40 days of Lent. If someone does abstain/fast from something for 6 days each week, plus the 4 days remaining this week until Sunday, that’s 40 days. Sundays are a feast day and not a day for fasting.

I have heard the Sunday thing as well. Since the practice of giving up something is not regulated or required, there is no set definition of when and when not to abstain from what you gave up. Since Sundays are not included in the 40 days of Lent, it would make sense to make those days when you don’t abstain from whatever you gave up. However, many people include Sundays in the days where they abstain. I know that since I’m giving up ice cream, which I’m addicted to, I will not be having any on Sundays, either. I know I would stuff myself to “make up” for the week and that kinda defeats the purpose of giving something up.

Sundays are not part of lent. These 40 days of penitence do no include SUndays. So the practice of NOT fasting on lent began when lent began.

I have no problem with feasting on Sundays (although I used to, and it took some convincing), :twocents: but it is just silly to claim that Sundays are not included in the 40 days of Lent. :twocents:

Or rather, to those who would stand by such a claim, I ask: Why is the Solemn feast of St Joseph, Husband of Mary (which always falls between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday) included in the 40 days? Shouldn’t Lent begin on “Ash Tuesday”? Similarly, in many years (including 2010) the Solemn feast of the Annunciation of the Lord falls during Lent – Should we have begun on “Ash Monday”? :hmmm:

BTW, I don’t mind a *little bit *of fasting on a feast – We all keep the Communion fast even on Sundays, no?


First off the people that claim Sundays are not part of Lent are wrong. Sundays are part of Lent. Lent is the entire season from Ash Wednesday through Holy Thursday. Sundays are feast days. As such anything that gets in your way of celebrating Mass should not continue. If you give up something that causes you to think about the thing you are giving up instead of worshiping God during Mass you shouldn’t give it up on Sunday.

You define what you give up (if anything) and how you give it up during Lent. But if you are giving up something for the entire period of Lent and giving it up doesn’t interfere with your worship of God on Sunday you SHOULD (but you don’t have to) continue to give it up on Sunday.

Read the articles above. Sundays DO count.

I said they weren’t included in the 40 days of Lent, not the season of Lent. I know, perhaps very poor wording on my part, and I apologize.

No problem, wasn’t addressing your post directly. Lent isn’t 40 days, it is approx. 40 days. Read the article on Jimmy Akin’s web page in the links included above that addresses this numerous times.

People that claim that Lent is 40 days without the Sundays include Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday in their numbering. Those days are not part of Lent as defined by the church.

Doesn’t Lent end at Sundown/Mass on Holy Thursday?

There is no “You SHOULD” about it. That is an entirely personal matter, merely your opinion, and has no bearing on another’s way of keeping Lent. It is bad form to go around telling people what they should do if the Church hasn’t spoken.

Yes. The following comes directly from Jimmy Akin’s page.

Lent begins at midnight Ash Wednesday and ends at the beginning of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, at which point Triduum begins.

Despite hymns to the contrary, Lent is not forty days long. It may have been at one time, but the way the Church’s liturgical documents are written today, Lent is just under 44 days long. (It would be forty-four if it didn’t end on the evening of Holy Thursday.) The number 40 is thus only an approximation.

See the page itself for links to the appropriate church documents.

I guess I never bothered to count the number of days. So people just say 40 days to reference Jesus’s 40 days in the desert.

If you look at the way I worded it I specificially said that if the person determines that they are giving up something for the entire period of Lent. Then that is what they SHOULD do. If they want to give up something for the period of Lent minus Sunday’s that is fine to. It is entirely up to them.

People get way to legalistic on here. The intent is to worship God, not to do the minimum Church requirements. If what you do or do not do during Lent gets in the way of your worshipping of God then what you are doing is wrong. The entire Lenten sacrafice isn’t define. What Lent is and what it isn’t is defined.