Catholic parishes are celebrating St. Patrick’s day today since March 17 falls during Holy Week this year, but nothing will stop civil celebrations featuring green beer on Monday.
“I don’t think we could ever stop that,” said the Rev. Michael Billian, Episcopal vicar for the Catholic diocese of Toledo.
He explained that liturgical celebrations for both St. Patrick, normally held on March 17, and St. Joseph, celebrated on March 19, were moved this year because they both fell in Holy Week this year.
“The feast days of the years have various ranks,” Billian said. “Holy Week trumps the feast days.”
Parishes were told to hold celebrations for St. Joseph on Saturday and St. Patrick on Friday because Holy Week is a traditional time of prayer and fasting.
St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally celebrated every year in honor of the saint credited with spreading Christianity throughout Ireland.
The dilemma of St. Patrick’s Day in Holy Week won’t occur again until the year 2160.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has told American dioceses that no Mass in honor of St. Patrick can be held on March 17 because of the overlap with Holy Week.