SCRANTON – On Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2024, the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, will be principal celebrant and homilist for the 12:10 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, a 40-day season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving that ends at sundown on Holy Thursday. It is a period of preparation to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter.

During Lent, the following fasting and abstinence regulations are observed:

FASTING is to be observed on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 14, 2024) and Good Friday (March 29, 2024) by all Catholics over 18 years of age to the beginning of their 60th year. On days of fasting, one full meal is allowed. Two smaller meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to one’s needs, but together should not equal another full meal, unless dispensed or excused.

ABSTINENCE from meat is to be observed by all Catholics who are 14 years of age or older. Ash Wednesday, all of the Fridays of Lent, and Good Friday are days of abstinence.

This year, Ash Wednesday falls on the same day as Valentine’s Day. While there have been inquires if a dispensation from the obligations to fast and abstain from meat will be given this year, the Diocese of Scranton explains that the significance of Ash Wednesday takes precedence over Valentine’s Day, just like in 2018.

“Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, a season of grace that challenges us to deepen our relationship with Jesus through prayer, penance and works of charity. The obligations of fasting and abstinence are naturally the priority in the Catholic community. Its spiritual importance is evidenced by the large number of faithful choosing to attend Mass on this day,” Bishop Bambera said. “Valentine’s Day can appropriately be celebrated on another day, such as the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which happens to be Mardi Gras, a time of celebration prior to the Lenten journey. That will allow Ash Wednesday to retain its appropriate significance.”

In addition to the 12:10 p.m. Mass with Bishop Bambera, ashes will also be distributed at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton during Masses held at 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Mass with the distribution of ashes will also take place at Immaculate Conception Parish, which is linked with the Cathedral, at 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. A full listing of Ash Wednesday Masses for all 110 parishes in the Diocese of Scranton is available on the Diocese of Scranton website at

Throughout the Season of Lent, Bishop Bambera will also visit every geographic area of the Diocese of Scranton holding a Lenten Holy Hour. A Holy Hour is a period of time spent in prayer before the Lord, present to all sacramentally in the Eucharist. A Holy Hour involves personal prayer, meditation readings from Scripture, hymns and more.

The dates and locations for Bishop Bambera’s Lenten Holy Hours across the Diocese of Scranton are:

Thursday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m.

Holy Family Parish, Luzerne


Tuesday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m.

Our Lady of Victory Parish, Tannersville


Wednesday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m.

Most Precious Blood Parish, Hazleton


Thursday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m.

Christ the King Parish, Archbald


Tuesday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m.

Saint Eulalia Parish, Roaring Brook Township


Wednesday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m.

Saint Joseph the Worker Parish, Williamsport


Thursday, Feb. 29, 7 p.m.

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Tunkhannock


Tuesday, March 5, 7 p.m.

Saint Joseph Marello Parish, Pittston


Wednesday, March 6, 7 p.m.

Saint John Neumann Parish, Lords Valley


Thursday, March 7, 7 p.m.

Epiphany Parish, Sayre


Monday, March 18, 7 p.m.

Our Lady of Hope Parish, Wilkes-Barre


Wednesday, March 20, 7 p.m.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta Parish, Scranton