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Can Catholics eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day? Some archdioceses grant dispensations

This year, St. Patrick's Day fell on a Friday during the Lenten season.

HOUSTON — This year, St. Patrick’s Day falls on Lenten Friday, when Catholics traditionally abstain from eating meat. However, many archdioceses, including the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, are granting dispensations allowing some Catholics to indulge.

The dispensation allows Catholics to eat their favorite St. Patrick’s Day meals, but they are encouraged to visit churches, engage in pious acts, and perform other acts of penance to compensate for eating meat on Friday.

Archdioceses in Boston, Washington, D.C., and in both of the dioceses covering New York City all granted dispensations as well. However, Catholics in Chicago were not granted a general dispensation and were encouraged to observe Lent on a different day.

Here is the message Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, shared earlier this month.

“This year, the Memorial of Saint Patrick falls on Friday, March 17. It is well known that Saint Patrick's Day is a day of friendly social celebration for many American Catholics.

“I, therefore, decree that on Friday, March 17, 2023, all Catholics of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, no matter where they may be, and all other Catholics present in the Archdiocese on that day, are, by my authority, dispensed from the obligation to abstain from meat (Code of Canon Law, can. 87 § 1).

“While it is not required that anyone make use of this dispensation, those who do wish to make use of it are encouraged to do an extra act of charity or penance in exchange for eating meat on that day.”

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