Bishop Ricken offers exemption to meatless Lent on St. Patrick’s Day

Corned beef brisket
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 1:31 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Catholics will be allowed to enjoy corned beef -- and any meat product -- when St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Lenten Friday this year.

Christians are encouraged to fast and abstain during Lent, a 40-day period between Ash Wednesday and the Saturday before Easter. This includes abstaining from meat on Fridays -- which is one reason fish fries are so prevalent and popular during this time.

This year, Bishop David Ricken of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay granted Catholics a dispensation for Friday, March 17, in celebration of St. Patrick. In his decree, the bishop calls the patron saint of Ireland “one of the most successful Christian missionaries in history” and says celebrating the Feast of St. Patrick honors his work.

Bishop Ricken says Catholics who eat meat on March 17 should make some other sacrifice or an act of charity or penance. He offered as examples donating the cost of a meal that day to the Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl program, praying the rosary, or participating in the Stations of the Cross.