Churches allow Catholics to refrain meat abstinence on St. Patrick's Day

New York churches authorized Catholics to refrain from meat abstinence on St. Patrick's Day. (Photo by Nguyễn Thị Minh Nghi from Pexels)

Many local church authorities have decided to exempt Catholics from abstaining from meat on St. Patrick's Day, which coincides with a Friday in Lent for the first time in six years.

As mentioned, Catholics in seven of New York's eight dioceses will be allowed to consume meat during lent.

Meat Consumption on St. Patrick's Day

According to NBC New York, the Archdiocese of New York, which covers Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, and seven other counties in the surrounding area, decided to grant a special dispensation that allows Catholics to consume beef on the Friday before St. Patrick's Day.

On Wednesday, March 15, Bishop Robert Brennan of the Diocese of Brooklyn issued a dispensation of his own, following in the footsteps of his predecessor. Queens are reportedly included in the diocese as well.

Buffalo, Ogdensburg, Rochester, Rockville Centre, and Syracuse dioceses have all provided their own individual dispensations. 

The advice provided by those dioceses ranges from substituting a new day to abstaining from meat to engaging in an additional act of charitable giving. 

The Diocese of Albany is the only state that does not grant dispensations.

Following canon law, one possible explanation for the disparity is that according to America Magazine, if Saint Patrick is the patron saint of a diocese, then the feast day of Saint Patrick is regarded as a solemnity, and this takes precedence over the tradition of abstaining from meat during Lent.

Apparently, St. Patrick is the patron of many cities, including New York, Boston, and Los Angeles,

Chicago is not one of the dioceses that recognizes Saint Patrick as their patron saint. However, it hosts one of the largest festivities of Saint Patrick's Day and has a sizable population of Irish people.

St. Patrick's Day

The annual celebration of St. Patrick's Day occurs on Mar. 17, the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. 

St. Patrick's Day will occur on Friday, Mar. 17, 2023. The Irish commemorated this day as a holy feast for over a thousand years. 

The Irish families would typically attend church in the morning on St. Patrick's Day, during the Christian season of Lent, and then celebrate in the afternoon. Meat consumption restrictions during Lent were lifted. 

People danced, drank, and feasted on the traditional Irish supper of bacon and cabbage.

As mentioned, the first St. Patrick's Day parade was held in America, not Ireland. A St. Patrick's Day procession was held on Mar. 17, 1601, at what is now St. Augustine, Florida, a Spanish colony. 

The Irish vicar of the Spanish Colony, Ricardo Artur, planned the parade and a previous St. Patrick's Day celebration.

St. Patrick, who lived in the fifth century, is Ireland's patron saint and national apostle. At 16, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as an enslaved person from Roman Britain. 

Afterward, he escaped but returned to Ireland, where he is credited with introducing Christianity to the natives.

In the decades following Patrick's death which is believed to have occurred on Mar. 17, 461, the mythology surrounding his life grew increasingly entrenched in Irish culture.

St. Patrick's explanation of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock, is perhaps his most well-known narrative.

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