Southern Nevada Catholics will have something extra to celebrate on Friday, St. Patrick's Day - a traditional Irish-American dinner, if they choose. Some dioceses have additional stipulations; Omaha, Neb., Archbishop George Lucas, for instance, said local Catholics who eat meat on St. Patrick's Day must abstain the next day, March 18. March 17 is an exception this year.
"For example, participating in Holy Mass that day, or abstaining from watching television, or donating to charity the same amount of money spent on food and beverage at the St. Patrick's Day celebration", Archbishop Michael O. Jackels said in a statement. It's called a dispensation and not all dioceses grant them.
If you are feeling conflicted about the urge to celebrate St.
Canon law recognizes the authority of a bishop to dispense the faithful (or to relax a merely ecclesiastical law) from observance whenever he judges that such relaxation contributes to their spiritual good. "Instead, Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago who choose to make use of this general dispensation are asked to substitute another form of penance for the Lenten Friday abstinence".
Cunningham is reminding all priests that they should instruct their faithful of the need for fasting and abstaining from meat on Good Friday and the other Fridays of Lent. The bishop has you covered.
Outside of those few weeks, Catholics are free to fire up their grills for steaks, burgers and kabobs no matter the day.