Each Catholic is asked to preserve the penitential purpose and character of Lent, which begins Ash Wednesday. Catholics who have celebrated their 14th birthday are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays in Lent and Good Friday. In addition to abstaining from meat, Catholics who have celebrated their 18th birthday until they celebrate their 59th birthday are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Those who are bound to this regulation may only eat one full meal. Two smaller meals are permitted if necessary to maintain strength according to one’s needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted. These practices are designed for spiritual growth. Catholics are not to excuse themselves lightly from these prescribed minimal penitential practices.