The Catholic Church, across the world, is in the season of Lent at the moment. And during this time of year, parishioners are called to pray, fast, and give during the 40 days between Ash Wednesday (Wednesday, February 22, 2023)  and Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday as it's called (Thursday, April 6th, 2023.)


Another tradition of the Lenten Season is for Catholics to abstain from eating meat on Fridays during lent.

But this year, St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday, and for those who are of Irish Heritage, and traditionally celebrate this day with a boiled dinner, that causes a bit of a conundrum.

Corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots on St Patrick's Day

But, according to the Catholic News Agency, there is a bit of a workaround that allows for the observance of both special occasions.

"It’s Lent, a penitential time when Catholics are supposed to abstain from meat on Fridays.

As the luck of the Irish would have it, there is a way out of this dilemma. Diocesan bishops can give the faithful a dispensation to allow them to eat meat on March 17."

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The Church put out the call to local Bishops, and the results were: (Click here for the map of states.)

"More than three-quarters of the country’s diocesan bishops — 137 — had answered the question by deadline. Of those, 105 are offering some relief for St. Patrick’s Day: 80 have said yes to a dispensation; 25 are offering a ‘commutation,’ requiring Catholics in their diocese to substitute some other penance if they plan to eat meat on Friday, March 17; and 32 have said no."

Catholic priest on altar praying during mass

Here in Maine, according to the Portland Diocese Of Maine, Bishop Robert Deeley has said yes to allowing the meat to be consumed this Friday, as long as Catholics in the state abstain from eating meat on another day within that same week.

St. Patrick's Day

"In recognition that St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday during Lent this year, Bishop Robert Deeley is authorizing individuals who choose to eat meat on that day (i.e., a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner) to commute, that is, transfer their abstinence from meat to another day within that same week. Parishioners are able to make use of this commutation on St. Patrick’s Day for any reason, even if they are not necessarily attending a parish event that day."

Homemade Corned Beef and Cabbage with Carrots and Potatoes

So if you're Catholic, and you live in Maine, you won't have to give up that Irish supper tomorrow, which is an extra reason to give thanks and celebrate this Saint Patrick's Day.


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