If you're observing Lent here in the Hudson Valley we have some good news for you.

With St. Patrick's Day falling on a Friday, many Catholics were bummed out when they realized their Lenten obligation would mean no corned beef and cabbage this year. The church forbids people to eat meat on Fridays during the forty days leading up to Easter. This year, the calendar just happened to align with everyone's favorite Irish holiday.

With many Irish-Americans also being Catholic, this unfortunate circumstance could have ruined everyone's holiday. But fear not; Cardinal Timothy Dolan has made a special exception. In a letter to all local parishes, the religious leader explains that this Friday will be a "gimmie." The announcement was presented to churchgoers at St. Paul's church in Bullville last month,

Fasting and abstinence from meat on Fridays are important Lenten obligations for every Catholic bound by age and health. As pastors/administrators, we need to strongly encourage our people to follow these directives.This year, the Solemnity of Saint Patrick, our patron, falls on a Friday, and I have decided to dispense our people from abstaining from meat.

So there you have it: corned beef and cabbage are back on the menu. Of course, for true Catholics, Lent is supposed to be a somber time. Instead of wild celebrations the church urges introspection and sacrifice. The cardinal has yet to chime in on how pitchers of green beer factor into that narrative.