The Fellowship of St. Nicholas
The Fellowship of St. Nicholas is a lay sodality championed by Matthew Plese (A Catholic Life) in partnership with OnePeterFive and Sensus Fidelium. It is committed to putting into practice concrete means to save one’s soul and assist the souls of our brethren.
Under the patronage of St. Nicholas, this fellowship intends to serve as a means for Catholic Traditionalists to band together and make communal penance in reparation for the sins of the clergy, for the conversion of sinners, for the restoration of the Catholic Faith, and the triumph of Christendom in every country, home, and heart.
While St. Nicholas is well known for his charity and generosity, it is seldom mentioned how strictly he observed the laws of fast and abstinence from his infancy, as the traditional Roman Breviary remarks in the lessons at Matins:
Nicholas was born at the famous city of Patara in Lycia. His parents obtained him from God by prayer, and the holiness of his life was marked even from the cradle. When he was at the breast, he never would suck more than once on Wednesdays and Fridays, and that always after sunset, though he sucked freely on other days. This custom of fasting he never broke through during his whole life.
Using the Church’s venerable history of fasting and abstinence as our guide, we band together to hold each other accountable and to earn greater merits for souls. As St. Leo the Great affirmed:
The exercise of self-restraint which an individual Christian practices by his own will is for the advantage of that single member; but a fast undertaken by the Church at large includes everyone in the general purification. God’s people never is so powerful as when the hearts of all the faithful join together in the unity of holy obedience, and when, in the Christian camp, one and the same preparation is made by all, and one and the same bulwark protects all…
For more information, buy the book by our founder, Matthew Plese:
Rule of Traditional Catholic Fasting for the Fellowship
All members of this sodality agree to commit to the Tier 1, which is beyond the minimum required by Church law. Members may also privately commit to Tier 2 or Tier 3 at their own or their spiritual director’s discretion. This is open to Catholics of any Rite.
This Tier takes the 1917 Code of Canon Law as a minimum (adding a few extra changes that occurred in the decades following its promulgation), but removes partial abstinence, which was instituted in 1741 as a direct attack to Lenten discipline.
- No flesh meat (i.e., meat from mammals or fowl) is to be consumed on any Friday in the year with no exceptions
- No flesh meat is to be consumed throughout all of Lent from Ash Wednesday through Holy Saturday inclusive (including Sundays)
- No flesh meat is to be consumed on any Ember Day, the Vigil of Ss. Peter and Paul (June 28), Vigil of the Assumption (August 14), the Vigil of All Saints (October 31), the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception (December 7), the Vigil of Christmas (December 24), the Vigil of Pentecost, and January 22 (transferred to January 23 when the 22nd falls on a Sunday) for the National Day of Penance for Human Life.
- No sweets may be consumed for the duration of Lent (e.g., cake, cookies, pie, candies, gummies, chocolate/candy bars, pastries, cupcakes, chocolate muffins, pudding/custard, ice cream, Nutella, fudge, truffles, pralines, bonbons, mochi)
- Fasting is defined as one meal only a day that may not be consumed earlier than noon but preferably is consumed after 3 PM or even after sunset. If necessary, an optional evening collation and an optional morning frustulum is allowed.
- Fasting is to be observed for the entirety of Lent (except for Sundays), the Ember Days, the Vigil of Ss. Peter and Paul (June 28), Vigil of the Assumption (August 14), the Vigil of All Saints (October 31), the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception (December 7), the Vigil of Christmas (December 24), the Vigil of Pentecost, and January 22 (transferred to January 23 when the 22nd falls on a Sunday) for the National Day of Penance for Human Life.
- Everything as above in Tier 1 with the following additions:
- No flesh meat (i.e., meat from mammals or fowl) is to be consumed on any Saturday in the year unless that day is a First-Class Feast or a former Holy Day of Obligation
- Abstinence for all of Lent (including Sundays) includes abstaining from all seafood (e.g., fish, shellfish), eggs, and all dairy products (e.g., milk, butter, cheese). Hence, Lent is a vegan fast – not a vegetarian one.
- Abstinence on the Minor and Major Rogation Days.
- No flesh meat is to be consumed during St. Martin’s Lent from November 12 until Christmas Day – except for Sundays, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (unless it falls on a Friday), and Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America
- Everything as above in Tier 1 with the following additions: The entirety of St. Martin’s Lent in Advent (except for Sundays) are days of abstinence from flesh meat.
In this tier, the fast and abstinence that is omitted in years when a day falls on a Sunday is transferred to the preceding Saturday (as it was done before the 1917 Code of Canon Law changes).
- Everything as above in Tier 1 & 2 with the following additions:
- Abstinence for the Vigil of the Purification of our Lady (February 1), the Vigil of Corpus Christi, the Vigil of St. Lawrence (August 9), the Vigil of St. Bartholomew (August 23), the Vigil of Ss. Simon and Jude (October 27), and for the duration of the Apostles Fast (except on Sundays) and the Assumption Fast (except on Sundays).
- Everything as above in Tier 1 & 2 with the following additions: Fasting for the duration of Apostles Fast in June (except on Sundays) and the Assumption Fast in August (except on Sundays) along with the Vigil of St. Lawrence (August 9), the Vigil of St. Bartholomew (August 23), the Vigil of Ss. Simon and Jude (October 27).
In this tier, like the one above, the fast and abstinence that is omitted in years a day falls on a Sunday is transferred to the preceding Saturday (as it was done before the 1917 Code of Canon Law changes).
HOW TO JOIN
Any member of the lay faithful can freely commit to Tier 1, the base requirement for the fellowship. This commitment is a voluntary penance and failure to fulfill this commitment does not bind under pain even of venial sin.
Find an annual fasting calendar here.
Some links in this post earn affiliate income for OnePeterFive.
 “Flesh meat” is defined as all meats other than fish and seafood.
 Fr. Hardon defines a frustulum as “The small portion of food, a few ounces, formerly permitted at breakfast on fast days. This was provided by canon law (Canon 1251), which permitted taking some food, morning and evening, in addition to the one full meal per day.” A collation is “A light meal that is allowed in addition to a full meal on fasting days.” Generally a frustulum is 2 ounces and a collation is 8 ounces.
Matthew Plese is a Third Order Dominican who resides in Chicago, IL. Matthew is a practicing Certified Public Accountant and Catechist. He is the President of CatechismClass.com, an online based organization whose mission is to make the best in Catholic religious education and Sacramental preparation available for those who need it. Matthew writes a monthly piece on apologetics and catechesis for Catholic Family News and a weekly column for the Fatima Center. He is also the author of Catholic Book Summaries: 54 Traditional and Contemporary Classics; Eschatology: The Catholic Study of the Four Last Things; Understanding the Precepts of the Church, and The Roman Catechism Explained for the Modern World as well as The Definitive Guide to Catholic Fasting & Abstinence. He also blogs at A Catholic Life.