Crookston Diocese lifts Lenten rule for holiday; Fargo doesn't
The Rev. Mike Foltz received several offers to eat corned beef and cabbage this St. Patrick's Day. Normally, that would be a problem for the Catholic priest, as eating meat on Fridays during Lent - the 40 days before Easter - is prohibited. But t...
The Rev. Mike Foltz received several offers to eat corned beef and cabbage this St. Patrick's Day.
Normally, that would be a problem for the Catholic priest, as eating meat on Fridays during Lent - the 40 days before Easter - is prohibited.
But the Diocese of Crookston, along with dozens of dioceses across the country, has granted a one-day dispensation from Lenten rules.
"I'm all German. But I'll be Irish that day," said Foltz, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Moorhead.
He announced the holiday dispensation during Mass on Sunday.
"There was a nice cheer or chuckle, because I know we have a lot of Irish people and people that are not Irish that claim to be on that day," he said.
Crookston Bishop Victor Balke said St. Patrick's Day is a time to celebrate. He said the exception applies to all Catholics in the diocese, whether members or visiting.
Bishop Samuel Aquila of the Diocese of Fargo has not given a general dispensation. Diocese spokeswoman Tanya Watterud said the bishop wanted parishioners to follow the Lenten regulations.
However, Aquila granted a reprieve to the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Fargo, who host an annual St. Patrick's Day celebration. Those who attend also receive the dispensation for that event.
The sisters will serve an Irish stew that features beef, potatoes and carrots, along with Irish soda bread, shamrock-shaped sugar cookies, green Kool-Aid and Irish-cream-flavored coffee, said Sister Francine Janousek.
"We just bring that Irish heritage with us," Janousek said.
While eating meat on a Friday during Lent isn't considered a mortal sin - the gravest category - it does take a dispensation for the church to lift the rule. Catholics abstain from eating meat to observe the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
At least 71 of the country's nearly 200 dioceses provide such dispensations, said Rocco Palmo, a Catholic commentator who has been keeping an informal count on his blog "Whispers in the Loggia." Some bishops are asking for a similar day of penance in exchange for relaxing the rules this Friday. Many bishops offered the same deal the last time St. Patrick's Day fell on a Friday during Lent, in 2000. Among them was then Fargo Bishop James Sullivan, who is of Irish descent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report .