As we are in the last day of Adar, I have a humorous post to share.
I cooked an old family recipe from me Bubby. You can see it on the right.
I invited guests - the MacGraggers. They posed for a picture, here:
This year we don't have to worry about that serious shailah of what if March 17th falls on a Friday? There's a heter for that:
gets blessing for St. Pat's
Chicago Tribune (IL)-March 16, 2006
Author: Manya A. Brachear, Tribune staff reporter.
Tipping his red hat to Chicago's Irish Catholic heritage, has again taken action to resolve a St. Patrick's Day dilemma:
Every few years, the holiday falls on a Friday during , when consuming meat is traditionally forbidden. But what would St. Patrick's Day be without corned beef and cabbage?
So George has declared an exception that permits his flock to eat meat on Friday. At least 76 other U.S. bishops reportedly have granted similar dispensations, including Joliet Bishop Joseph Imesch.
While eating meat on a lenten Friday isn't a mortal sin, many look to the church for guidance before bending the rule.
"So many of the oldest Irish are faithful to the sacrifice the faith asks them to make," said Rev. Dan Brandt, pastor of Nativity of Our Lord parish in Bridgeport, where Celtic crosses are etched into the doors and walls and the pews are filled with O'Malleys, O'Donnells and Slatterys. "They need to hear a dispensation has been granted before they keep their tradition."
Both George and Imesch have asked Catholics who choose to eat meat on Friday to substitute another act of penance or abstain on a different day.
"Fridays during Lent are days of discipline," Brandt said. "We try to do something to remind ourselves of the excess in which we live."
Though there are no official records, the archbishop of Chicago has granted the dispensation as far back as anyone with the archdiocese can remember. The last time was in 2000.
The dispensation applies only to parishioners within the archdiocese. Catholics traveling outside the boundaries would seek permission from the bishop of their destination diocese or abstain from meat as usual.
Technically, Catholics could take advantage of the one-day dispensation to indulge in other meaty delicacies, whether fried chicken, pigs' feet or steak. In fact, the cardinal also granted a dispensation to the Young Irish Fellowship's annual banquet last Friday where chefs prepared filet mignon.
Still, Brandt said the St. Patrick's Day dispensation was meant to recognize a time-honored Irish-American tradition--not to give Catholics in the Chicago area a "get out of jail free" card.
"The spirit of the dispensation was in keeping with Irish roots, so those for whom it is a tradition to eat corned beef and cabbage on Friday can go ahead and do it," said Brandt.
Brandt also said it's important to keep the act of penance in perspective, saying that any good deed or act of self-denial can serve the same purpose as abstaining from meat, which in reality is not much to ask.
"Crab cakes, tuna melts--it's really no great sacrifice," Brandt said. "It makes us mindful perhaps that we are a country of excess. It helps us relate to those who aren't so fortunate."
Before the Vatican II Council in the 1960s, were prohibited from eating meat every Friday. The council recommended that the abstention be limited to Fridays during Lent instead.
Some theologians say a bishop's dispensation is not strictly required for a Catholic to eat meat on the holiday--that believers can make an exception if circumstances call for it. Others say there are rules and only local bishops have the authority to bend them.
Few seem to object to making an exception for St. Patrick. Even Bill Donohue, president of the conservative Catholic League, commended George's decision.
"It's one of the church's manmade rules having nothing to with dogma," Donohue said. "It would be imprudent for Cardinal George not to cede to this reality that corned beef and cabbage and green beer are the staples to an Irishman's diet on ."
In Ireland, where the holiday is considered more a day to lift a saint up rather than let the hair down, dispensations are routinely granted, according to the Irish consulate in Chicago.
Corned beef is more of an Irish-American tradition, and Catholics in Ireland would be more likely to indulge in boiled bacon, said Rev. Tom Reynolds, an Irish-born priest who helps run the Missionary Society of St. Columbine in Rogers Park.
"St. Patrick would take to drink in heaven if he thought we weren't eating meat on his feast day," Reynolds joshed.
But since his arrival, Reynolds added, he has developed a taste for corned beef.
"I was delighted when I came to the states and tasted it for the first time," he said. "I can't imagine not eating corned beef on St. Patrick's Day."
St. Patrick is best known as the man who converted Ireland to Christianity. Born in Scotland in 387, Patrick was made a bishop by the pope and dispatched from Rome to Ireland as a missionary. Using the three leaves and single stem of the shamrock, Patrick illustrated the concept of the trinity--"even as there are three leaves on this one stem so there are three persons in one God."
For many Americans, Irish and otherwise, the holiday has evolved into an excuse to celebrate the onset of spring with parades, a platter of corned beef and a pitcher of green beer.
For that reason, Brandt said, he will still be making a sacrifice this Friday. "I gave up beer for Lent," he said. "I'd rather drink beer than eat corned beef any day of the week."
Rev. Jim Donovan, pastor of Our Lady of Loretto parish in Hometown, sees nothing wrong with a little revelry, as long as the reason behind it is remembered.
"We're celebrating our faith. We get so far away from why we're doing things," Donovan said. "It's more than just a party. It's about our faith and identity as a Christian people."
"In the grand scheme of things, one day every other year is not that big of a deal," he said of the cardinal's dispensation.
Even Christ liked to live it up at times, Donovan said. "What would Jesus say? He turned the water into wine."