BRIDGEPORT—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has joined other Catholic bishops across the country in granting a dispensation from the requirement to abstain from eating meat on St. Patrick’s Day, Friday, March 17, 2017, for the faithful of the Diocese of Bridgeport.
Click to read Bishop’s Decree
The Bishop issued the decree on March 7 formally granting the dispensation, but also encouraged Catholics to make up the fast on another day or with some extra penance.
In the decree he asks people who choose to eat meat on Saint Patrick’s Day “to abstain from meat on another day of Lent that is not a Friday, or observe another equally penitential practice.”
The Bishop also encourages the faithful “to observe general moderation in food and drink during the entire season of Lent.”
According to the Code of Canon Law and the directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, all Catholics who have completed their fourteenth year and are not yet sixty years old are required to abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent. This rule can be dispensed in cases of certain medical conditions or very unusual situations.
While St. Patrick’s Day is a day of festivities, parades and celebrations, it occurs during a penitential season. “The season of Lent calls us to practice penance in various forms, to pray and to be particularly mindful of the needs of the poor,” the Bishop said.
St. Patrick’s Day falls on Friday about once every seven years, leading to the one-day lifting of the church rule. Many other bishops across the U.S. have also issued dispensations allowing for the traditional corned beef and cabbage celebration.
Pastors throughout the diocese have been notified and will also post the announcement in their bulletins and on parish websites.
Many Catholics throughout the county used social media and the diocesan website to inquire about the dispensation.