SCRANTON (Feb. 16, 2023) – During the penitential season of Lent, Catholics age 14 and over are required to abstain from eating meat on Friday. This ecclesiastical law helps us to commemorate as a community the Passion and Death of the Lord and to practice the self-restraint called for by this holy season.

The memorial of Saint Patrick falls on a Friday this year, March 17, the Friday of the Third Week of Lent. Given the importance of this feast in the life of the Diocese of Scranton and in the lives of many local Catholics, the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, is granting a dispensation from the Friday Lenten abstinence on Friday, March 17, 2023, to those who wish to take advantage of this opportunity.

Code of Canon Law No. 87 states, “A diocesan bishop, whenever he judges that it contributes to their spiritual good, is able to dispense the faithful from universal and particular disciplinary laws issued for his territory or his subjects by the supreme authority of the Church.”

This dispensation applies to celebrations in parishes, fraternal organizations and families. It is not required that anyone make use of this dispensation. The dispensation does not apply to any other celebrations of Saint Patrick that might take place on any other Fridays in Lent.

All the faithful who take advantage of this dispensation are encouraged to abstain from meat on some other day as part of their penitential practices during Lent and/or perform an act of service, prayer or sacrifice in keeping with the character of the Lenten season.

Information on this Saint Patrick’s Day Dispensation was published in the Feb. 16 edition of The Catholic Light newspaper.