Lent, Wednesday & Friday have traditionally been considered penitential.
Friday is observed as penitential in honor of our Lord's death on
Good Friday. Note that Fridays are STILL penitential in the universal
"Can. 1250 The
penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the
whole year and the season of Lent." (1983 Code of Canon Law, emphasis
In fact, Friday
penance may be considered a grave obligation.
Early Christians also
kept Wednesdays as penitential days...
"Such is the
impious scheme devised on this day [Spy
Wednesday], within the precincts of the temple of Jerusalem. To testify her
detestation at it, and to make atonement to the Son of God for the outrage thus
offered Him, the holy Church, from the earliest ages, has consecrated the
Wednesday of every week to penance. In our own times, the fast of Lent begins on
a Wednesday; and when the Church ordained that we should commence each of the
four seasons of the year with fasting, Wednesday was chosen to be one of the
three days thus consecrated to bodily mortification." (Dom Gueranger)
Other days have also
been penitential. For example...
"In order that
we may do penance each week, and especially on Friday, in honour of the Passion,
and on Saturdays in memory of the burial of Jesus Christ, and in honour of the
Blessed Virgin." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)
Note: For other
traditional times of
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