St. Patricks Day Dispensation, 2023 from the Office of Archbishop, Bernard A. Hebda
From time immemorial the Christian faithful have set apart Friday for special penitential observance, by which we willingly suffer with Christ so that we may one day be glorified with Him. This loving desire is at the heart of the tradition of abstinence from meat on Fridays in Lent. Notwithstanding the privileged place of this penitential practice in the spiritual life, requests for dispensation have not been infrequent when Fridays in Lent have corresponded with traditional days of Christian celebration.
Owing much to Saint Patrick and to those devoted to him, the faithful of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis have long marked each March 17th as the feast of the saintly first bishop of Armagh. Given the extent to which the life of this Archdiocese has been shaped by Irish immigrants indebted to Saint Patrick for the gift of their Catholic faith, it is not surprising that my distant predecessor, Archbishop John lreland, himself a native of the Emerald Isle, would have personally insisted that a chapel honoring Saint Patrick be included among the Shrines of the Nations in our Cathedral, keeping alive devotion to the Apostle of Ireland to this day.
Considering that the Memorial of Saint Patrick coincides in 2023 with the third Friday of Lent; and
In thanksgiving for the example of Saint Patrick as a missionary disciple called and sent forth from the proverbial Upper Room to bear witness to Christ; and
Recognizing the rich spiritual patrimony handed on to the faithful of this community by the spiritual sons and daughters of Saint Patrick throughout the history of this Archdiocese; and
Having determined that the prominence of the Memorial in the sensibilities and practice of faithful Catholics of this local Church warrants the relaxation of the penitential spirit normally to be observed on any Friday, most especially a Friday in Lent; with this decree I hereby DISPENSE FROM THE OBLIGATION OF ABSTINENCE ON MARCH I7, 2O23
Those faithful domiciled or physically present in the territory of the Archdiocese who would ordinarily be bound to observe abstinence from meat on the Fridays of the season of Lent. All, however, who choose to enjoy the favor of the dispensation by partaking in the eating of meat on the Memorial of Saint Patrick this year, are exhorted to undertake a work of charity, an exercise of piety, or an act of comparable penance on some other occasion during the Third Week of Lent.
Through the intercession of Saint Patrick, may Christ be in the heart of everyone who thinks of us, in the mouth of everyone who speaks of us, in every eye that sees us, and in every ear that hears us.
Glorious Saint Patrick pray for us! Given at Saint Paul, Minnesota, on this 15th day of February, in the Year of Our Lord, 2023.
Chancellor for Canonical Affairs
Most Reverend Bernard A. Hebda
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis