There are exceptions to eating corned beef on St. Patrick’s day, church officials say

The last time St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Friday during lent, was in 2017.
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 6:29 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - On Friday, restaurants, and kitchens all over will be serving up the traditional corned beef and cabbage for St, Patrick’s Day. For Catholics, there’s a conundrum.

The holiday falls on a Friday and it’s a no-meat day during lent. The last time St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Friday during lent, was in 2017.

Last year, Saddleback Barbeque went through about 100 pounds of corned beef for St. Patrick’s celebration. And this year, they’re preparing for another big crowd. Although the holiday falls on a Lenten Friday, many are wondering what that means for Catholics who cannot eat meat.

“It’s the Friday in lent that takes precedent even over the feast of dear St. Patrick,” said David Kerr.

Kerr works with the Diocese of Lansing. While he is of Irish descent, he said they will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day but with no meat. He added there are a few exceptions for some parishioners.

“We forgo eating of meat with the exception of parishes or those who live within parishes that are dedicated to St. Patrick as they are patron saint,” said Father Tom Wasilewski.

Wasilewski is the Priest of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Ann Arbor. Parishioners at his church will have a choice.

“My parishioners are going to be dispensed from eating meat tomorrow, they don’t have to eat meat. They’re supposed to celebrate, they’re supposed to be happy because their patrons being celebrated,” said Wasilewski.

He said even if one chooses to partake in eating meat, there is no reason to add an extra day to lent.

“We don’t pile on penances at the church although maybe sometimes our church can be perceived like that,” said Wasilewski.

Whether you celebrate with or without corned beef, St. Patrick’s Day will be a day of celebration.

There are only two parishes dedicated to St. Patrick in Michigan, Ann Arbor and Brighton. The St. Patrick Catholic Church in Ann Arbor will host a special mass at 7 p.m. Friday evening to celebrate Saint Patrick.

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