In response to “several inquiries and requests,” Bishop Donald Kettler has granted a dispensation from the obligation to abstain from eating meat on the feast of St. Patrick, which falls on a Friday of Lent this year.
The dispensation, which applies to all Catholics in the Diocese of St. Cloud, was announced March 2 in a note sent to pastors of the diocese.
St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, commemorates the life of the “Apostle of Ireland.” For many, it is also an occasion to celebrate Irish pride and heritage. Corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew and Shepherd’s pie are among the traditional foods eaten on this day.
Lent is a penitential season devoted to prayer, fasting and good works. Catholics age 18 to 59 are obligated to fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The law of fasting permits only one full meal a day, but allows the taking of some food in the morning and a second light meal at noon or in the evening.
The other Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat for Catholics age 14 and older.
St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain around the year 389. He was kidnapped at 16 by Irish raiders and sold into slavery in Ireland. He was a shepherd for six years before escaping and returning home. But his dream of converting the Irish pagans propelled him to priestly studies in Gaul (now France), and Pope Celestine I consecrated him bishop in about 432 and sent him to Ireland. For nearly 30 years he preached, baptized converts and founded monasteries.
This story contains information from Catholic News Service.