Some of you faithful Catholics in Berkshire County that also celebrate St. Patrick's Day and all it entails may have realized something recently. And you fans of the age-old practice of dining on corned beef and cabbage may know the conundrum I'm arriving at.

Commonly, during the season of Lent, practicing Catholics observe the practice of abstinence which includes not eating meat on Fridays. You may have asked yourself, "Wait for just a second! Does this mean I'm unable to feast on my favorite St. Patrick's Day meal of corned beef?!?!?"

Calm down. Hold on. Relax and take a deep breath. Most importantly, DON'T PANIC. To be honest, I can't even remember what I did back in 2017 which was the last time that the "wearing o' the green" fell on a Friday.

Well, according to several Catholic bishops throughout the Bay State from Worcester to Springfield and beyond, you probably shouldn't worry. Most(if not all) bishops are granting general or special dispensation so you can have your corned beef and eat it too.

However, with that said, the head of your local Diocese may have a different opinion. And also keep in mind that even if you are allowed to dine on corned beef on that Friday, March 17, you will probably be expected to do something in return.

For example, abstaining from meat on another day. Or perhaps performing another act of penance as a substitute for that particular day. This may sound unbelievable, but many folks simply have no idea that St. Patrick's Day is an important feast day that celebrates the patron saint of Ireland and it isn't all about the consumption of alcohol.

Anyway, whichever way you plan to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, I just hope it's a happy one! And enjoy that corned beef!

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