COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Catholic Diocese of Columbus has issued a dispensation for those planning to observe St. Patrick’s Day this year.

Bishop Earl K. Fernandes said that churchgoers can eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on Friday, Mar. 17. The announcement is an exception to the common practice of abstaining from eating meat on Fridays during Lent. Though avoiding meat is a tradition for Catholics during the Fridays of Lent, the dispensation was issued due to the celebratory nature of St. Patrick’s Day.

According to a note from the diocese sent to NBC4, Rev. Fernandes said that members planning to observe can take advantage of the dispensation by doing one of the following:

  • Visit any church in the Diocese of Columbus named in honor of St. Patrick. Those churches include:
    • St. Patrick Catholic Church – 280 North Grant Ave., Columbus, OH
    • St. Patrick Church – 61 South Union St., London, OH)
    • St. Patrick Catholic Church – 1170 Ohio 668, Junction City, OH
  • Assist at Mass at any church, chapel, or oratory on St. Patrick’s Day
  • Pray the “Breastplate of St. Patrick”, which is attributed to St. Patrick
  • Engage in some pious devotion such as the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, or Eucharistic Adoration
  • Perform an act of comparable penance — such as abstaining from meat — on some other occasion during the third week of Lent

The observance of Lent continues through April 6.