All Catholics who have reached their 14th year are bound to abstain entirely from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent.
All Catholics between the ages of 18 to 59, inclusive, are also bound to observe the law of fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. This means limiting oneself to a single full meal and avoiding food between meals. Two other light meals, which together do not equal a full meal, may be taken during the day.
The obligation to do penance and to observe the appointed penitential season is a serious one. Those whose work or health would be impaired are excused from fast and abstinence. Individual conscience should decide proper cause for excuse. A more serious reason is required to excuse oneself from Ash Wednesday and Good Friday fast and abstinence.