Saturday, March 4, 2017

Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington are dispensed from the obligation to abstain from eating meat on Friday, March 17, 2017

Dear Brother Priest, 

As we begin this season of Lent, it is good to be reminded of the Church’s call for all Catholics to animate this time of grace with acts of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The Church invites us to deepen our relationship with God through prayer and to express our love of God in our love of our neighbor, especially the poor, whom we assist through almsgiving.

The Church also calls us to deny ourselves of some of the physical comforts we have become accustomed to through fasting. The requirement set forth in the law of the Church asks us to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent, which amounts to only eight days of abstaining from meat out of the whole Year. 

Having acknowledged the importance of prayer, fasting and almsgiving during this time of Lent, sometimes, for pastoral and cultural reasons, we are asked to reconsider the rules and regulations, especially regarding abstinence, and consider granting a dispensation. This year, the memorial of Saint Patrick, March 17, falls on a Friday, and we have received several requests for a dispensation from the obligation to abstain from meat on this day.

For pastoral reasons, all Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington are dispensed from the obligation to abstain from eating meat on Friday, March 17, 2017, the memorial of Saint Patrick. Catholics who avail themselves of this dispensation are encouraged to consider abstaining from eating meat the following day. 

May the Lord bless you and the people you serve with many graces during this holy season of Lent.

With every good wish, I am
                                                    Sincerely in Christ,
                                 
                                                    Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout
                                                    Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia 

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