Archbishop To Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Mass

Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, Archbishop of Baltimore, will celebrate Mass in honor of St. Patrick on Friday, March 14 at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church at Broadway and Bank Streets in Fells Point.

Because St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) falls on Monday of Holy Week, those churches named after their principal patron, Saint Patrick, are commemorating the solemnity on Friday, March 14. (For more canonical details about this anomaly in the Church calendar, see below).

St. Patrick’s is one of the oldest Catholic parishes in Baltimore still in use today. Built in 1792 at Broadway and Bank St., the first bishop of the Diocese of Bardstown in Kentucky was ordained at St. Patrick’s in 1810—11 years before the completion of America’s First Cathedral, the Baltimore Basilica.

St. Patrick’s and nearby St. Michael’s form the Catholic Community of St. Patrick, which serves a predominantly-Hispanic population.

Archbishop O’Brien has granted Catholics in the Archdiocese of Baltimore a dispensation from abstinence from eating meat on Friday, March 14.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in 2008, the traditional date of Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17th) falls on Monday of Holy Week. In most of the Dioceses of the United States of America, therefore, the feast will not be commemorated liturgically.

In those places where Saint Patrick is the principal patron of a particular church it is, customarily, commemorated as a solemnity. Because number 60 of the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar allows that “a solemnity impeded by a liturgical day that takes precedence over it should be transferred to the closest day not listed in nos. 1-8 in the table of precedence,” this solemnity may be transferred to Friday, March 14th. It might be noted that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has established that in the year 2008, the Solemnity of Saint Joseph will be transferred from the Wednesday of Holy Week to March 15th, that is, the Saturday preceding Palm Sunday. This decision impedes the transfer of the solemnity of Saint Patrick to March 15th.

In the vast majority of the dioceses of the United States of America, where the feast of Saint Patrick is commemorated as a non-obligatory memorial, the feast will not be commemorated liturgically in the year 2008.

Sean Caine

Sean Caine is Vice Chancellor and Executive Director of Communications