SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Saint Patrick’s Day falls on the third Friday of Lent this year and Catholics have been granted permission to eat meat on the day of celebration.

Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is celebrated every year on March 17, which this year, happens to fall on the third Friday during Lent.

Due to the importance of the holiday in the Diocese of Scranton, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera is granting a dispensation from the Lenten abstinence, allowing area Catholics to eat meat on Saint Patrick’s Day, if they choose.

“It is not required that anyone make use of this dispensation. The dispensation does not apply to any other celebrations of Saint Patrick that might take place on any other Fridays in Lent,” the Scranton Diocese posted in a message on their website.

Catholics, ages 14 and up, are normally obligated to not eat meat on Fridays during Lent, but under certain circumstances, such as Saint Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday in Lent, a diocesan bishop has the authority to grant an allowance from the religious obligation.

All who decide to take advantage of the opportunity are urged to abstain from eating meat on another day during Lent or to perform an act of service, prayer, or sacrifice relating to the season of Lent.