When I saw that St. Patrick's Day was on Friday this year, I hoped Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki would grant dispensation to Catholics.
From the Archdiocese of Milwaukee:
Each year, Catholics throughout the world are expected to abstain from meat and meat products on Fridays during Lent. Once or twice a decade, we are faced with a quandary: when St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday during this time of penance, may we eat the corned beef?
After careful consideration, Archbishop Jerome Listecki has decided this year that Catholics in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee can take part in this tradition with a clear conscience. He has granted a dispensation which allows the consumption of meat on Friday, March 17, 2017.
Although Archbishop Listecki has waived the rule for this St. Patrick's Day, Catholics who choose to make use of this dispensation are encouraged to engage in another sacrificial or charitable act that day.
Here's the official decree:
JEROME EDWARD LISTECKII'm no vegetarian, but I don't eat a lot of meat. It's not difficult for me to abstain from meat on Fridays. Nonetheless, a St. Patrick's Day corned beef dinner on Friday during Lent is really a treat.
Miseratione Divina et Apostolicae Sedis Gratia
The disciplinary practice of abstaining from meat on the Fridays in Lent is an important dimension of the penitential nature of the season. This year, the Feast of St. Patrick, March 17, 2017, falls on a Friday in Lent. Given the many celebrations that occur on this day and especially as we in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee will be ordaining our two new auxiliary bishops, in accord with the norm of law, I herewith grant to all Catholics of the Archdiocese as well as all present here that day, a dispensation from abstinence from meat and meat products. I encourage all who make use of this dispensation to engage in another sacrificial or charitable act that day.
Given in Milwaukee, this 1st day of February, 2017.
Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee