HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Most Rev. Ronald W. Gainer, Bishop of Harrisburg, has granted a dispensation from the obligation to abstain from meat on Friday, March 17, 2023, for the celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day. Saint Patrick is the principal patron of the Diocese of Harrisburg and the patron of the Diocesan Cathedral, making this a day of rejoicing within our Diocesan Church and a fitting occasion to break from the penitential nature of the Lenten season.
On Friday, March 17, 2023, all Catholics of the Diocese of Harrisburg, no matter where they may be (i.e., even if they are travelling outside the Diocese), and all other Catholics actually present in the Diocese on that day, are, by the authority of Bishop Gainer, dispensed from the obligation to abstain from meat (can. 87 §1).
It is not required that Catholics make use of this dispensation. However, Catholics who voluntarily choose to follow this dispensation are encouraged to abstain from meat on some other day as part of their penitential practices during Lent.
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The Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg was established on March 3, 1868. It covers 15 counties in south and central Pennsylvania, is home to 89 parishes and 35 Catholic schools, and has just over 200,000 Catholics.