St. Patrick's Day 2023: Milwaukee archbishop says you can eat meat

Archbishop Jerome Listecki

Archbishop Jerome Listecki has granted a dispensation for March 17, 2023 which lifts the obligation of abstinence from meat on Fridays during Lent. This is so Catholics in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

"A feast day in the Church means what it says – it calls for celebratory feasting," Archbishop Listecki said in a news release. "However, Catholics who partake in the St. Patrick’s Day feast are encouraged to engage in another sacrificial or charitable act that day or give up meat on another day."

Catholics 14 and older are to abstain from meat on all Fridays of Lent, which began Feb. 22 this year, as an act of penance. Fasting from meat on these Fridays is one way Catholics partake in the three traditional pillars of Lenten observance of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

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March 17 has been the official feast day of St. Patrick on the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar since 1631.

The last time St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Lenten Friday, the Catholic News Agency reported that bishops of more than 80 dioceses around the United States – about half – granted a dispensation from fasting from meat. That was in 2017.

Archdiocese officials say there are more than 500,000 Catholics in the 10 counties that make up the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Catholics are the largest number of religious adults in the state of Wisconsin 

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