Catholic Church

Boston Catholics Can Eat Corned Beef in Good Conscience This St. Patrick's Day

Boston's archbishop has granted Catholics a Lent exemption from meatless Friday on St. Patrick's Day to celebrate the Irish way

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St. Patrick's Day, one of the biggest days of the year for drinking and partying, coincides with the religious observance of Lent. But don't worry — Boston's archbishop has granted Catholics the day off from their religious duties in order to celebrate Friday.

The holiday is a cultural and religious celebration held annually on March 17, the death anniversary of the patron saint of both Ireland and the Archdiocese of Boston. In the United States, the holiday has turned into a largely secular day that celebrates all things Irish — notably beer, corned beef and cabbage.

The corned beef poses a problem for those observing Lent, the period of preparation and fasting that occurs in the 40 days leading up to Easter. Catholics are supposed to observe meatless Fridays, but Boston Archbishop Seán Patrick O'Malley religious leaders are granting them a day off in honor of St. Patrick.

"Given the importance of this feast in the life of the Archdiocese and in the lives of many Catholics, Cardinal Seán is granting a dispensation from the Friday Lenten abstinence on March 17, 2023, to those who wish to take advantage of this opportunity. This is a one day only dispensation," read the statement, released Tuesday.

This year, the South Boston St. Patrick's Day/Evacuation Day Parade is on Sunday is back to its full schedule. For those who aren't going in person but want to follow along, it will be broadcast live on NECN and its streaming platforms.

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