SAINT LOUIS, Mo. — The Catholic Church believes Jesus sacrificed his flesh on Good Friday. In his honor on Fridays during Lent, Catholics refrain from eating meat.
This year, one Friday in Lent falls on St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday where eating corned beef is a tradition. The calendar conundrum left Archbishop of St. Louis Mitchell Rozanski deciding whether to relax the rules.
Local bishops have power to grant exceptions in these cases.
“We have very deep Irish roots here in the city of St. Louis and in our region. I will grant a dispensation for all of those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day that they can have their corned beef and cabbage,” Rozanski said.
He said the exemption will apply to all Catholics with the Archdiocese of St. Louis and to all meat on March 17.
Rozanski follows a growing number of bishops who are making the same concession including the dioceses of Washington D.C., Baltimore, Harrisburg Pennsylvania and Arlington Virginia.
Bishop Michael McGovern, who oversees the diocese of Belleville, announced he will also allow it. McGovern is asking Catholics in his area to avoid meat on a different day instead.
"Granting the dispensation is a way for people to enjoy a family tradition," McGovern said.
Rozanski is also encouraging an act of piety by those who partake.
“Either spend some more time in prayer or maybe even take some time to read the history of the life of St. Patrick,” he said.
When asked what he was sacrificing for Lent, Rozanski said he is giving up the occasional scotch and spending extra time in private prayer praying the stations of the cross.
The last time St. Patrick's Day fell on a Friday was in 2017. Former St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson granted a special dispensation to the Ancient Order of Hibernians to allow them to eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day. The rest of the archdiocese had to abstain from meat.