As St. Patricks’s Day approaches, many Christians need clarification on whether they can eat meat during the day. St. Patrick’s Day falls on March 17th and is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century and was kidnapped as a slave to Ireland at the age of 16.
According to Britannica, after escaping, he returned to Ireland in 432 CE to convert the Irish to Christianity. He spent his life establishing churches, monasteries, and schools, and by the time of his death on March 17, 461, he had left an indelible mark on Irish history. St. Patrick is credited with many legendary feats, such as driving the snakes out of Ireland and using the shamrock to explain the Trinity. The Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with religious services and feasts.
A Dispensation Granted by Louisville Archbishop
According to Cecelia Price, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Louisville, Louisville Archbishop Shelton Fabre has given a dispensation from the Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat on St. Patrick’s Day for 24 counties within his jurisdiction. According to the Courier-Journal‘s story, St. Patrick’s Day this year will be celebrated on a Friday during Lent, which lasts from February 22 to April 6
Catholics in the affected counties can indulge in their favorite corned beef dinners without violating their religious beliefs. The dispensation was issued without any additional conditions. The Archdiocese of Louisville has 110 parishes, including those in Jefferson, Bullitt, and Washington counties. Catholics outside these areas can check Catholic News Agency’s online map to see if their county is included in the dispensation.
According to Catholic News Agency, the National Catholic Register conducted a survey of all the bishops in the United States to know how many were offering a dispensation for Catholics to eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on a Friday during Lent this year.
Of the 137 diocesan bishops who responded to the survey, 80 have granted a dispensation, while 25 require Catholics to substitute another penance if they eat meat on that day. Thirty-two bishops have not given a dispensation. A map is provided to show which dioceses have granted a dispensation.
You can see the map here.
Also Read: Good Friday 2023: Understanding, Looking Back at the Rich History of Holy Week
Some Traditions for Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day has become a popular holiday in America and has some traditions that are more Irish-American than Irish. According to Parade, the popular St. Patrick’s Day meal of corned beef and cabbage is an Irish-American tradition that started in the early 1900s because corned beef was more affordable than Irish bacon.
Another is that shamrocks are a common symbol used to decorate and dress up for a holiday. They have been a part of Irish culture since the 1600s and were declared the Irish national symbol in a 1726 treatise by Irish cleric Caleb Threlkeld. The shamrock represents the Holy Trinity in Christianity, which is why it is associated with St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
Related Article: Observing Ash Wednesday: A Guide to Lent for Catholics and Christians