The observance of Fridays as a day of penance dates back to the early church who recalled that it was on a Friday that Our Lord suffered and died for us. The penance that is most commonly associated with Fridays is the abstaining from meat. Here in the United States, the traditional penance of abstaining from meat on Fridays of Lent has been retained while on the other Fridays of the year, one must either abstain from meat or substitute another penance on that Friday. This obligation, under the pain of sin, is an important help to our spiritual lives as it reminds us of what Jesus did for us in his passion and death.
In this year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twenty-Three, the optional memorial of St. Patrick falls on Friday of the Third Week of Lent. The memory of this saint, who was a missionary bishop to Ireland during the fifth century, is not only celebrated in Ireland but indeed throughout the world and especially here in the United States. In light of this, and in memory of this great saint who brought Christianity to Ireland, I hereby
Dispense from the obligation to abstain from meat on Friday, March 17, 2023, all the faithful of the archdiocese as well as all those who may be visiting or traveling through the archdiocese on that day.
While no one is obliged to use this dispensation, anyone who does choose to use the dispensation and eat meat on that Friday, I exhort them to choose another day that week in which they may perform an act of penance (abstain from meat, do an act of charity, an exercise of piety or some other penance).
Given at Kansas City, Kansas, on this 24th day of February, in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twenty-Three.
Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann
Reverend John Riley, VG