THE OBSERVANCE OF THE MEMORIAL OF SAINT PATRICK
AND THE LENTEN OBLIGATION TO ABSTAIN FROM MEAT
ON FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2023
Archbishop Nelson J. Perez, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, in accord with
the Code of Canon Law (canon 87), grants a dispensation to all Roman
Catholics in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from the obligation to abstain
from meat on the Memorial of Saint Patrick on Friday, March 17, 2023.
The United States Bishops prescribe as a minimal obligation that all persons who are
fourteen years of age and older are bound to abstain from eating meat on the Fridays of
Lent. This is a corporate gesture of penance observed by all the members of the Church
in the United States.
In certain circumstances, such as the coincidence of Saint Patrick’s Day and a Friday of
Lent, the Diocesan Bishop may grant such a dispensation from the observance of the
corporate gesture of penance on a penitential day. However, as with every Friday of the
Church Year outside of Lent, if a Catholic makes the choice not to abstain from meat, then
some other penance of choice is to be observed in honor of the passion and death of our
Lord on the cross.
On Saint Patrick’s Day, the memory of this missionary apostle to Ireland recalls his
preaching of the Faith and encouragement to live authentic Christian lives. Lent does not
disappear with the festive celebration of Saint Patrick. Rather, in the Archdiocese of
Philadelphia, Roman Catholics may fittingly observe March 17, 2023 with another choice
of penance rather than abstaining from meat.
Office for Divine Worship/February 21, 2023