Springfield bishop offers Lenten dispensation for meat this St. Patrick’s Day

On Friday’s during Lent, Catholics typically avoid meat. However, as St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday this year, Bishop Byrne is allowing a pass.
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 11:58 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 12:30 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - As the tradition follows on Friday’s during the season of Lent, Catholics are to avoid meat. However, as St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday this year, the bishop of the Diocese in Springfield is allowing a pass.

“The bishop was good enough to offer a dispensation for Catholics today being St. Patrick’s Day because it occurs on a Friday,” said Msgr. Christopher Connelly.

During Lent, Catholics are not supposed to eat meat on Fridays, which would mean no corned beef this St. Patrick’s Day, but Bishop William Byrne of the Diocese of Springfield is waiving the rule this year.

“The point of it simply is to acknowledge that it is a feast day and let people enjoy the celebration of St. Patrick,” Connelly explained.

However, Connelly told us there is a request for those who decide to indulge.

“The bishop asks that we replace it with another penance, another day of our own choosing, so say a prayer for someone you know that could use it, that qualifies,” Connelly added.

Western Mass News spoke to Joseph Sullivan, the owner of Nathan Bill’s Bar and Restaurant in Springfield. He told us the bishop’s pass changes their business and allows corned beef and cabbage to be featured on the specials menu.

“So we don’t only have to push out fish today, but fish and chips are great. It’s beer battered, but it’s not the same as corned beef and cabbage,” Sullivan said.

In preparation, Nathan Bill’s had 500 pounds of meat ready for hungry customers.

“We had to wait for the waiver to start cooking,” Sullivan said.