NEW ULM, Minn. (AP) — Catholics around the state will be allowed to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the traditional corned beef and cabbage, even though it falls on a Friday in Lent when they are normally encouraged to abstain from eating meat.
Archbishop Harry Flynn has issued a dispensation for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which covers 12 counties. Bishops in the New Ulm and St. Cloud dioceses followed suit.
Many bishops have traditionally issued a St. Patrick’s Day dispensation.
Roman Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays in Lent — the 40 days preceding Easter — as an act of penance and a reminder of the sacrifices of Jesus Christ.
“I would request that people taking advantage of the dispensation do some other form of Lenten penance on another day during Lent,” Bishop Raymond Lucker said in a notice to parish priests in the New Ulm Diocese.
Corned-beef-eating parishioners in areas including Boston, New York, Seattle, Manchester, N.H. and Madison, Wis., have all received the go-ahead.
In Fall River, Mass., a bishop changed his mind and agreed to issue the dispensation after he became a subject of controversy. Bishop Sean O’Malley said Monday his initial reasoning was modern Catholics aren’t asked to make Lenten sacrifices as severe as those made in decades past. But he said he changed his mind because of ensuing confusion.