Bishop O’Connell’s Dispensation for Saint Patrick’s Day

The Holy Season of Lent brings with it the serious annual penitential obligation to abstain from meat on Fridays of Lent.  This year, 2023, however, Friday of the second week of Lent corresponds with Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17), which has traditionally been an occasion for special celebrations.  As Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, I am granting a dispensation from the obligation to abstain from eating meat to Catholics of the Diocese of Trenton as well as to any visitors or travelers who may be physically present within the territory of this Diocese on Friday, March 17.

Those Catholics taking advantage of the dispensation, however, are asked to transfer the Friday abstinence obligation to another day of their choosing in Lent or to perform a work of charity (for example, a donation to the poor) or some exercise of piety (for example, a visit to Church and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, a rosary, or some other prayer, etc.) to fulfill the spirit of the obligation.