MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many Catholics across the Twin Cities are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day for other reasons.
Because the holiday falls on a Friday this year during Lent, Archbishop Hebda of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has given the go-ahead for Catholics to eat meat this Friday.
Irish Catholics, especially, will now be able to enjoy their corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day.
“I just heard about it,” said Catholic Joe Gleason. “If the pope or the bishop says it’s OK, then it’s OK.”
They take Lent pretty seriously at St. Olaf Catholic Church in Minneapolis. In fact, there are eight Ash Wednesday masses at the start of Lent, making it a busier day than even Christmas.
“I’ve tried to give up chocolate, and I think last year I tried to give up pop or something like that,” said Catholic Skip Gunderson.
But for those giving something up, they’re getting something in return. St. Patrick’s Day holds quite a bit of weight in the Catholic Church. Since his holiday falls on a Friday this year, the fish fast will go on a one-day hiatus.
It’s happened before where archbishops have pardoned all Catholics during the rare times that St. Patrick’s Day lands on a Friday.
“If you have a few people who are praying for it, you know, we’re delighted that God hears those prayers, too,” said Fr. Joe Gillespie.
For Fr. Gillespie, whose family is from Ireland, it’s the Catholic version of March Madness. He’s a big fan of White Castle, so he plans on rolling through the drive-thru on Friday.
“I will stop in to, you know, exercise ‘the crave’ on that day,” Gillespie said.
And for those Catholics that don’t care about shamrocks and Irish luck, there will still be plenty of fish to fry.
“Last week we served 1,300 people who were eating remarkably-good tilapia, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t do it again Friday night [laughs!]” Gillespie said.
Five out of six Catholic dioceses in Minnesota have said it’s OK to eat meat this Friday.
New Ulm’s diocese will be sticking with the no-meat Friday tradition all the way through Lent.