This year, St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday during Lent. This has thousands of Catholics in West Michigan asking, "Is it okay to eat corned beef on St. Patrick's Day even though it's a Friday during Lent?"

Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, which began on Ash Wednesday (March 1) and runs until Easter (April 16). Many parishes in the Diocese of Grand Rapids support this practice by hosting fish fries on Fridays during Lent.

This year brings a unique challenge as many are faced with the choice of observing the Lenten fast or celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a traditional corned beef dinner.

Annalise Laumeyer, Director of Communications for the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids, explains the options for local Catholics this St. Patrick's Day,

Bishop Walkowiak is not issuing a diocesan wide dispensation for St. Patrick’s Day. However, parishioners may receive a dispensation from their pastor. If granted a dispensation the parishioner is encouraged to complete another penitential act today or move the abstinence from meat to another day."

West Michigan Catholics are allowed to enjoy corned beef today, even though it is a Friday during Lent, if their individual pastor grants permission and some additional steps are taken.

Whether today brings you corned beef, fish or something else, have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

More From Mix 95.7