Penitential Disciplines of Lent



The Christian faithful, during Lent, are clearly conscious of the need to turn the mind towards those realities which really count, which require Gospel commitment and integrity of life which, through self denial of those things which are superfluous, are translated into good works and solidarity with the poor and needy.

In addition to choosing their own penitential practices, Catholics are also asked to observe the practices of fast and abstinence during the 40 days of Lent.  The Lenten Fast and Abstinence Regulations are as follows:

1.  Everyone 14 years of age or over is bound to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent.

2.  Everyone 18 years of age and under 59 years of age is bound to fast on Ash            Wednesday and Good Friday.  (The obligation of fasting ceases with the celebration of one’s 59th birthday.)

3.  On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, only one full meatless meal is allowed.  Two other smaller meatless meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted on these two days, but liquids, including milk and fruit juices are allowed. When health or ability to work would be seriously affected the law does not oblige.

4.  Catholics should not lightly excuse themselves from these prescribed minimal penitential practices.





May: The Month of Mary and Mercy


May is traditionally the month attributed to honoring Mary, the Mother of God. Why honor and pray to Mary?  Well, she obtains special graces for us from her Son. Imagine that you desired to give Jesus a mere apple, representative of your offering or prayer to God.  Yes, you can give the apple directly to Jesus.  However, imagine rather giving it first to Mary and asking her to give it to her Son.  Mary would take your apple, your offering and prayer, she would coat it in gold and place it upon a gold platter, and then give it to Jesus.  How beautiful is this.  Surely, Jesus listens and does what his Most Blessed and Pure Mother desires.  Just as Mary at the Wedding of Cana asked Jesus to help the newly wed, so she asks and intercedes for us now.

Not only is this a beautiful and mysterious reality, but it is deeply intertwined with God’s infinite and Divine Mercy!  Mercy which has an unbelievable history in our own world, involving such Saints as John Paul II, Maximilian Kolbe, and Maria Faustina Kowalska.  You can read the full riveting story here:


2018 Diocesan Appeal

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Dear Friends in Christ:

In this Holy Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis, we are asked to open the doors of our hearts and make mercy real and present by our actions. The ministries supported by the Diocesan Appeal allows us as a Catholic family to be merciful throughout our diocese.

Through your gifts to this Appeal, our schools, and religious education programs benefit from the Office of Education which helps to prepare our teachers and catechists to pass on the knowledge of our faith.  The Ministry Formation Program has trained so many adults who go back to their parishes and evangelize by proclaiming the depth of God’s mercy present in the Scripture.

You also play a crucial part in the formation of our priests and deacons who serve us throughout their lives – even in retirement.

Together, we can reach so many by pooling our resources to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, and to lift them up through our Catholic Charities programs.  Your gift demonstrates that God’s mercy is alive today, experienced by many, and practiced by all who follow Jesus.

Let God’s mercy lead us…
To care for those who are hungry and poor
To welcome the lost and forsaken
To educate the hearts, minds, and spirits in the Catholic faith

We cannot let the love of Christ stay behind closed doors – we must open our hearts to Christ so we can spread His mercy to everyone we meet.

Please join me in giving to the 2016 Diocesan Appeal so we can help make God’s mercy a reality for people in our parishes, communities and throughout our diocese.   Thank you.

The Most Reverend David J. Malloy
Bishop of Rockford

Brochure (English)  |  Click here to give.

Brochure (Español)  |  Haga clic aquí para dar.