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Bucks County Courier Times
St. Patrick's Day is here. Can I eat meat since it's a Friday in Lent?
By Bucks County Courier Times,
St. Patrick's Day falls within Lent, and this year it's on Friday, possibly causing a dilemma for Catholics who abstain from eating meat on Fridays.
But, don't fret, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and its Archbishop the Rev. Nelson J. Pérez has granted a dispensation to all Roman Catholics in the region to allow congregants to indulge for the holiday. The Diocese of Trenton and its leader Bishop David O'Connell and the Diocese of Camden also granted the special dispensation to the faithful in South Jersey and those who visit.
But, you are not totally off the hook during your celebrations of the patron saint of Ireland that may include traditional fare like corned beef and cabbage.
"In certain circumstances, such as the coincidence of Saint Patrick’s Day and a Friday of Lent, the Diocesan Bishop may grant a dispensation from this obligation," the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said in a statement. "However, if a Catholic makes the choice not to abstain from meat, then some other penance of choice is to be observed in honor of the passion and death of our Lord on the cross."
O'Connell suggested an act of charity or an exercise of piety, including a visit to church, special prayers or saying the rosary. The Diocese of Trenton includes 97 parishes located throughout Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties.
The Philadelphia Archdiocese includes the city and its suburban counties, including Bucks and Montgomery counties.
The Lenten season began on Ash Wednesday and runs through Holy Thursday, April 6. It is followed by Good Friday and Easter on Sunday, April, 9. The "minimal penitential obligation" that all persons who are 14 and older are bound to abstain from eating meat on the Fridays of Lent. Many Catholics also give up eating certain things or make other sacrifices in their observation of Lent.
Depending on the calendar, St. Patrick's Day can fall of Friday and in Lent it triggers the dispensation. The archdiocese in its release recognized him as a "missionary Apostle to Ireland; his preaching of the Faith; and his encouragement to live authentic Christian lives."