When St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday, as it does about every seven years, the Lenten rule requiring Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays collides with the long-held tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage.
The two occasions meet this year. March 17 marks the celebration of St. Patrick — known as the Apostle of Ireland for his years of missionary work there — and it also is a celebration of all things Irish and even green. This March 17, since it falls on a Friday in Lenten, also is a time of penitence.
The timing has not gone unnoticed by some U.S. bishops. Before Lent even started, many of them issued dispensations for Catholics in their dioceses allowing them to eat meat on St. Patrick's Day.