Lent is the 40-day penitential period before Easter and the celebration
of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Guidelines in the United States require Catholics age 14 and older to abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent.
The memorial of Saint Patrick, March 17, 2023, falls on a Friday this year. It is well known that Saint Patrick’s Day is a day of convivial celebration for many Amer
ican Catholics. Therefore, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, has decreed that on Friday, March 17, 2023, all Catholics of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, no matter where they may be, and all other Catholics actually present in the Archdiocese on that day, are, by his authority, dispensed from the obligation (can. 87 §1).
It is not required that anyone make use of this dispensation. Those who do wish to make use of it are encouraged to abstain from meat on some other day as part of their penitential practices during Lent.