To the Catholic faithful in the Archdiocese of Dubuque,
Those of us who are 14 years of age and older are obliged by Church law to practice the penance of abstaining from eating meat on the Fridays of Lent.
This tradition helps us to remember how Jesus loved us and gave himself up to death for our salvation, as well to inspire us to imitate Jesus’ loving gift of self by an act of penance or charity.
However, as St. Patrick’s Day this year falls on a Friday of Lent, and as celebrations often include serving meat, Catholics in the Archdiocese of Dubuque are dispensed from the obligation to abstain from meat on that day.
Those people who take advantage of this dispensation are encouraged to perform some other good work, for example, participating in Holy Mass that day, or abstaining from watching television, or donating to charity the same amount of money spent on food and beverage at the St. Patrick Day celebration.
Begging the intercession of St. Patrick, who brought the Gospel to people in Ireland, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus who inspires and perfects our faith.
Michael O. Jackels
Archbishop of Dubuque