meat on st. patrick's day

Can You Eat Meat on St. Patrick’s Day?

Every six years or so the question comes up: Can I eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day?

The answer: it depends.

We could go into a ton of detail, but to put it simply: Lent is a big deal and it outranks most feast days that might fall during it. Solemnities (the highest ranking type of day) override almost everything else in the calendar. When solemnities fall during Lent, they’re still Solemnities, and in the same way Lent doesn’t include Sundays, it doesn’t include Solemnities.

St. Patrick’s Day is a solemnity in Ireland (because, duh) but not in America. So, folks in Ireland automatically are allowed to eat meat when St. Patrick’s Day is on a Lenten Friday. But Americans are not.

But a lot of American Catholics have Irish heritage they’re very connected to, and as such, St. Patrick’s Day has been taken up even by those who aren’t Irish (or Catholic). What about them? Can they celebrate their patron with a traditional meal of corned beef?

Understanding this situation, many American Bishops grant a dispensation from the Lenten practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays for those who wish to celebrate the life of St. Patrick.

Be careful: not all Bishops grant their diocese a dispensation, and those who do may attach different obligations or suggestions to the members of their flock to act on it. For example: the Archdiocese of the Military has a dispensation requires members abstain from meat on another day that week if they skip Friday, and the Archdiocese of Omaha requires those who eat meat on that Friday to abstain the following day, but the Archdiocese of Anchorage are encouraged to perform other sacrificial and/or charitable act on the 17th.

These dispensations apply to all who are in the physical boundaries of the Diocese. So if a Catholic from Omaha, Nebraska (dispensation) is traveling to Lincoln, Nebraska (no dispensation) and gets hungry, he can’t eat some corned beef. Conversely, a Lincoln Catholic could travel north to Omaha for a St. Patrick’s Day feast.


Below are all the Diocese and Archdiocese of the United States, arranged by state. If your diocese is marked “yes,” be sure to check to see what types of obligations or suggestions go along with the dispensation. If your diocese if marked “no,” and you’re really bummed about it, double check with your diocese. Dispensations have been announced at all different times and manners, and all diocese are considered a “no” until we heard otherwise, so we may have just missed it. (If that’s the case, let us know so we can update the list.)

Dispensation or not, we can all celebrate this great saint in the Church. (Green fish, anyone?)


Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA: Yes


Archdiocese of Mobile: Yes

Diocese of Birmingham: Yes


Archdiocese of Anchorage: Yes

Diocese of Fairbanks: No

Diocese of Juneau: Yes

American Samoa

Diocese of Samoa-Pago Pago: No


Diocese of Gallup: No

Diocese of Phoenix: Yes

Diocese of Tucson: Yes


Diocese of Little Rock: No


Archdiocese of Los Angeles: Yes

Archdiocese of San Francisco: Yes

Diocese of Fresno: No

Diocese of Monterey: No

Diocese of Oakland: No

Diocese of Orange: No

Diocese of Sacramento: Yes

Diocese of San Bernardino: Yes

Diocese of San Diego: Yes

Diocese of San Jose: No

Diocese of Santa Rosa: No

Diocese of Stockton: Yes


Archdiocese of Denver: No

Diocese of Colorado Springs: Yes

Diocese of Pueblo: No

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Diocese of Chalan Kanoa: No


Archdiocese of Hartford: Yes

Diocese of Bridgeport: Yes

Diocese of Norwich: Yes


Diocese of Wilmington: No


Archdiocese of Miami: Yes

Diocese of Orlando: Yes

Diocese of Palm Beach: Yes

Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee: Yes

Diocese of St. Augustine: No

Diocese of St. Petersburg: Yes

Diocese of Venice: Yes


Archdiocese of Atlanta: Yes

Diocese of Savannah: Yes


Archdiocese of Agaña: No


Diocese of Honolulu: Yes


Diocese of Boise: Yes


Archdiocese of Chicago: Yes

Diocese of Belleville: Yes

Diocese of Joliet: Yes

Diocese of Peoria: No

Diocese of Rockford: Yes

Diocese of Springfield in Illinois: No


Archdiocese of Indianapolis: Yes

Diocese of Evansville: No

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend: Yes

Diocese of Gary: No

Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana: No


Archdiocese of Dubuque: Yes

Diocese of Davenport: Yes

Diocese of Des Moines: Yes

Diocese of Sioux City: No


Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas: Yes

Diocese of Dodge City: No

Diocese of Salina: No

Diocese of Wichita: No


Archdiocese of Louisville: Yes

Diocese of Covington: Yes

Diocese of Lexington: Yes

Diocese of Owensboro: Yes


Archdiocese of New Orleans: Yes

Diocese of Alexandria: No

Diocese of Baton Rouge: No

Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux: No

Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana: Yes

Diocese of Lake Charles: No

Diocese of Shreveport: No


Diocese of Portland: Yes


Archdiocese of Baltimore: Yes

Diocese of Wilmington: No


Archdiocese of Boston: Yes

Diocese of Fall River: Yes

Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts: Yes

Diocese of Worcester: Yes


Archdiocese of Detroit: No

Diocese of Gaylord: Yes

Diocese of Grand Rapids: No

Diocese of Kalamazoo: Yes

Diocese of Lansing: No

Diocese of Marquette: No

Diocese of Saginaw: No


Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis: Yes

Diocese of Crookston: No

Diocese of Duluth: Yes

Diocese of New Ulm: No

Diocese of Saint Cloud: Yes

Diocese of Winona: Yes


Diocese of Biloxi: No

Diocese of Jackson: Yes


Archdiocese of St. Louis: No

Diocese of Jefferson City: Yes

Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph: Yes

Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau: No


Diocese of Great Falls-Billings: No

Diocese of Helena: No


Archdiocese of Omaha: Yes

Diocese of Grand Island: No

Diocese of Lincoln: No


Diocese of Las Vegas: Yes

Diocese of Reno: No

New Hampshire

Diocese of Manchester: Yes

New Jersey

Archdiocese of Newark: No

Diocese of Camden: Yes

Diocese of Metuchen: Yes

Diocese of Paterson: Yes

Diocese of Trenton: No

New Mexico

Archdiocese of Santa Fe: No

Diocese of Gallup: No

Diocese of Las Cruces: Yes

New York

Archdiocese of New York: Yes

Diocese of Albany: Yes

Diocese of Brooklyn: Yes

Diocese of Buffalo: Yes

Diocese of Ogdensburg: Yes

Diocese of Rochester: Yes

Diocese of Rockville Centre: Yes

Diocese of Syracuse: Yes

North Carolina

Diocese of Charlotte: No

Diocese of Raleigh: Yes

North Dakota

Diocese of Bismarck: No

Diocese of Fargo: No


Archdiocese of Cincinnati: No

Diocese of Cleveland: Yes

Diocese of Columbus: No

Diocese of Steubenville: Yes

Diocese of Toledo: Yes

Diocese of Youngstown: Yes


Archdiocese of Oklahoma City: No

Diocese of Tulsa: No


Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon: No

Diocese of Baker: No


Archdiocese of Philadelphia: Yes

Diocese of Allentown: Yes

Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown: No

Diocese of Erie: Yes

Diocese of Greensburg: Yes

Diocese of Harrisburg: Yes

Diocese of Pittsburgh: Yes

Diocese of Scranton: Yes

Puerto Rico

Archdiocese of San Juan: No

Diocese of Arecibo: No

Diocese of Caguas: No

Diocese of Fajardo-Humacao: No

Diocese of Mayagüez: No

Diocese of Ponce: No

Rhode Island

Diocese of Providence: Yes

Saint Croix (US Virgin Islands)

Diocese of Saint Thomas: No

Saint John (US Virgin Islands)

Diocese of Saint Thomas: No

Saint Thomas (US Virgin Islands)

Diocese of Saint Thomas: No

South Carolina

Diocese of Charleston: Yes

South Dakota

Diocese of Rapid City: No

Diocese of Sioux Falls: No


Diocese of Knoxville: No

Diocese of Memphis: Yes

Diocese of Nashville: Yes


Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston: Yes

Archdiocese of San Antonio: Yes

Diocese of Amarillo: No

Diocese of Austin: Yes

Diocese of Beaumont: Yes

Diocese of Brownsville: No

Diocese of Corpus Christi: Yes

Diocese of Dallas: Yes

Diocese of El Paso: No

Diocese of Fort Worth: Yes

Diocese of Laredo: No

Diocese of Lubbock: No

Diocese of San Angelo: No

Diocese of Tyler: Yes

Diocese of Victoria: Yes


Diocese of Salt Lake City: No


Diocese of Burlington: Yes


Diocese of Arlington: Yes

Diocese of Richmond: No


Archdiocese of Seattle: Yes

Diocese of Spokane: Yes

Diocese of Yakima: Yes

Washington DC

Archdiocese of Washington: Yes

West Virginia

Diocese of Wheeling–Charleston: No


Archdiocese of Milwaukee: Yes

Diocese of Green Bay: Yes

Diocese of La Crosse: Yes

Diocese of Madison: Yes

Diocese of Superior: No

Diocese of Cheyenne: Yes


Where’s the (Licit) Beef | Whispers in the Logia
List of Catholic Diocese in the United States | Wikipedia
Ranking of Liturgical Days in the Latin Rite | Wikipedia

Photo: Corned Beef and Cabbage 2 | Steve Wertz via flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Jonathan Teixeira

Founding Editor at Benevore
Jonathan is the Founding Editor of Benevore. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska with his wife Amanda and their two daughters. When he's not working on Benevore, you can find him reading a book, playing his ukulele, or building/programming something with an Arduino board.