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Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackels has dispensed Catholics in the archdiocese from the obligation to abstain from meat on Friday, March 27 and Friday, April 3 due to coronavirus concerns.

"Archbishop Jackels understands the current difficulties associated with being in public and grocery shopping in particular," said Deacon John Robbins, Archdiocesan Director of Communications. "We hope that this dispensation is not viewed strictly as a local 'rule change' but rather as a pastoral accommodation to help Catholics who are truly in need." In his message, Archbishop Jackels states, "Those who aren't able to abstain [from meat], should perform some other act of penance."

The entirely of Archbishop's dispensation message is included below:

Monday, 23 March 2020

Archbishop Jackels has dispensed the Catholic faithful in the Archdiocese of Dubuque from the obligation to abstain from meat on Friday, 27 March 2020 and on Friday, 3 April 2020.

This dispensation does not apply to Good Friday, April 10, 2020.

This dispensation is granted in view of the difficulty people might have in finding meal alternatives to meat, or to go out for grocery shopping.

The Fridays of Lent remain days of prayer and penance. Those who are able to abstain from meat, should do so. Those who aren’t able to abstain, should perform some other act of penance.

An example of an alternative penance might be to bear up silently and with calm under the extra-ordinary strains and burdens of being cooped up at home.