BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher took a proactive measure to help local Catholics who face calendar conundrum later this month.
St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish holiday known for corned beef and cabbage, falls on a Friday this year – the day of the week during Lent that Catholics forgo eating meat.
To compensate, Fisher granted a commutation of the meatless requirement for March 17, 2023, allowing for St. Patrick’s Day festivities to proceed unencumbered so long as people choose another day to go meatless.
“Recognizing the spiritual and cultural significance of Saint Patrick’s Day, I hereby grant a commutation of the discipline of abstaining from meat on March 17, 2023,” Fisher wrote in a letter than ran in local church bulletins over the weekend.
“A commutation of this discipline means that those Catholics who choose to eat meat on Friday, March 17th are obliged to choose another day before March 24, 2023 to abstain from eating meat,” the note concluded.
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The Buffalo Diocese is certainly not alone in granting special status to St. Patrick’s Day. According to data compiled by the National Catholic Register, a majority of dioceses across the country are sharing a similar sentiment, including neighboring dioceses in Rochester and Erie, Pa. Some bishops granted full dispensation, essentially giving a snow day to the Lenten obligation, while others like Buffalo made a small ask such as choosing a different day to abstain from meat or performing another form of penance.
The Buffalo Diocese said it does not have any preference which day people choose to go meatless to make up for St. Patrick’s Day, as long as it comes before the following Friday.
The meatless obligation during Lent has given a rise to Buffalo’s popular “Fish Fry Fridays,” during which many people enjoy our deep-fried seafood delicacy. You can find our list of Fish Fry Friday locations around Western New York here.
St. Patrick’s Day last fell on a Friday in 2017. It will be on a Friday again in 2028.