Fasting is recommended by the Sacred Scriptures and is practiced by the Church as a means of atonement for sin and commending individuals and their prayers to God. The intent of fasting is penitential in nature and with the purpose of intensifying prayer. The current practice of the Latin Rite in the United States allows for one main meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, with some food being allowed at the other two mealtimes, with no food at other times. Liquids do not break this fast. The law of the Church binds catholics "from the day after their 18th birthday to the day after their 59th birthday."
Abstinence is followed every Friday in Lent. Abstinence means that we refrain from eating meat or food prepared with meat (including chicken). This practice is to remind us of Jesus' redeeming death, and the practice of penance. The law of the Church binds those who are 14 years of age or older.