From tiime to time the Church has listed certain specific duties of Catholics. Some duties expected of Catholic Christians Today including the following:
( * Those traditionally mentioned as PRecepts of the Church are marked with an asterisk. )
1. To keep holy the day of the Lord's Resurrection : to worship God by participating in Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation * - to avoid those activities that would hinder renewal of soul and body. eg. needless work and business activities, unnecessary shopping etc.
Holy Days of Obligation
Holy days of obligation are special feasts on which Catholics who have reached the age of reason are seriously obliged, as on Sundays to assist at Mass to avoid unnecessary work. Serious reasons excused from these obligations. In Singapore and Malaysia, these days are:
- Mary's Assumption - 15 August
- Ascension Thursday - 40 days after Easter
- All Saints Day - 1 November
- Christmas - 25 December
- minimally, to recieve the Sacrament of Penance at least once a year ( annual confession is obligatory only if serious sin is involved).*
- minimally, to receive Holy Communion at least once a year, between the first Sunday of Lent and Trinity Sunday. *
4. To observe the marriage laws of the Church : * to give religious trainng (by example and word) to one's children; to use parish schools and religious education programs.
5. To strengthen and support the Church: * one's own parish community and parish priests; the worldwide Church and the Holy Father.
6. To do penance, including abstaining from meat and fasting from food on the appointed days.*
Regulations for Fast and Abstinence
To fast means to limit the quantity of food. To abstain means to refrain from eating meat.
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence, and all Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence.
The obligation to abstain from meat binds Catholics 14 years of age and older. The obligation to fast, limiting oneself to one full meal and two lighter meals in the course of a day, binds Catholics from the ages of 21 to 59.
Those who are sick (this includes pregnant women) are not obliged to fast.
Fasting and abstaining are forms of penance. As followers of Christ, we are to participate in the sufferings of Christ. Other voluntary forms should be practiced. Prayer can be penitential, both private and liturgical. Charity toward the neighbour calls for surrender of self-love and the sharing of one's possessions.
7. To join in the missionary spirit and apostolate of the Church.