Faithful throughout the archdiocese have been granted permission to eat meat on the third Friday of Lent this year.

In a Feb. 23 announcement, Archbishop Pérez granted dispensation to all Catholics in the Philadelphia archdiocese from the obligation to abstain from meat on Friday, March 17, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

The Catholic Bishops of the United States prescribe as part of a minimal penitential obligation that all persons who are fourteen years of age and older are bound to abstain from eating meat on the Fridays of Lent.

In certain circumstances, such as the coincidence of Saint Patrick’s Day and a Friday of Lent, the Diocesan Bishop may grant a dispensation from this obligation.

If a Catholic makes the choice not to abstain from meat, then some other penance or charitable work of choice is to be observed.

Lent is a 40-day period of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving from Ash Wednesday through Holy Thursday in preparation for the celebration of the sacred Paschal Triduum and the Easter season.

This year, the 2023 Lenten Season began on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Easter will be celebrated on Sunday, April 9.