Q. 1. How long is the Season of Lent? I know it is 40 weekdays. But when does it finish? Some say on Holy Thursday. Others say on the Eve of Easter. What does the Catholic Church teach on this matter?
A. 1. It used to be that Lent ended at noon on Holy Saturday. This is no longer the case. The new Liturgical Year and Calendar, promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969, states, “Lent lasts from Ash Wednesday to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper exclusive.”
The present Liturgical calendar includes:
- Lent, which ends before the Mass on Holy Thursday evening.
- The triduum which begins with the evening Mass on Holy Thursday and concludes with the start of the Easter Vigil on the evening of Holy Saturday.
- The Easter Season.
The last week of Lent is known as the Holy Week. This is the holiest time of the liturgical year, a time when the church commemorates the final week of our Lord's life. The events that are commemorated during the Holy Week are Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil.