Can West Central Missouri’s Catholics Eat Meat On St. Patrick’s Day?
For many Irish and the Irish at heart, part of celebrating St. Partick's Day is enjoying corned beef and cabbage. When St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday during Lent that can be a bit of a problem if you're Catholic.
For those not aware, "Lent is a 40-day season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday. It's a period of preparation to celebrate the Lord's Resurrection at Easter," according to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
During Lent, one of the sacrifices Catholics are asked to make is to not eat meat on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays. However, there are times, Bishops can grant a dispensation, or permission to engage in the forbidden activity.
For example, I went to a Catholic High School, and one year the school scheduled their Men's smoker during Lent. The School got permission from the Arch Bishop of Chicago to allow attendees to eat, and the school to serve meet that night for dinner. It's also not unheard of for Bishops to grant dispensation when St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday during Lent.
So if you're a Catholic in West Central Missouri can you eat meat this Friday, St. Patrick's Day? Yes, both the Bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City and the Diocese of Kansas City have granted Catholics dispensation for St. Patrick's Day.
The decree from Bishop McKnight of the Diocese of Jefferson City suggests Catholics "Observe at least one of these three alternative penances on that day: participate at Mass; participate in the devotion of the Stations of the Cross; or pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary."
While the decree from Bishop Johnston of the Diocese of Kansas City suggests those who participate in the dispensation, "Adopt another day of abstinence in place of March 17 or substitute a suitable penitential observance, such as prayer, fasting, or almsgiving, in its place."