MADISON -- The bishops of Wisconsin determined together that since St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday this year (March 17), it would be appropriate to dispense the faithful from the obligation of abstinence from eating meat that day.
Since this must be done by each bishop in his own diocese, Bishop Robert C. Morlino has issued a "Rescript Granting Dispensation" for the "faithful who reside in the Diocese of Madison, as well as anyone actually present in the Diocese of Madison" on March 17, 2017.
Bishop Morlino points out that the norms on fasting and abstinence promulgated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for the dioceses of the United States require all the faithful to abstain from eating meat on the Fridays of Lent.
Noting, however, that the memorial of St. Patrick falls on a Friday of Lent this year, he exhorts "the faithful to exercise due moderation and temperance in festivities and celebrations of the memorial of St. Patrick, in keeping with the solemnity and honor that is due to so great a saint and his tireless efforts to inspire holiness in the Christian faithful."
The bishop says, "Wishing nevertheless to foster a joyful and reverent devotion to that great saint and, moreover, to honor the patrimony of the Irish people to whom he first preached the good news of salvation," he therefore dispenses the faithful who reside in the Diocese of Madison, as well as anyone actually present in the Diocese of Madison, from the observance of the law of abstinence on Friday, March 17, 2017.
He urges them "to perform some salutary work of penance or charity that day so that they might unite themselves more perfectly with the suffering and death of our Lord."