St. Patrick’s Day lightning strike: Sheriff plans additional patrols
Sheriff Mark Vasily Singh announced that the Wood County Sheriff’s Office will step up patrols on St. Patrick’s Day.
The blitz will run from Friday through Sunday.
Deputies will pay particular attention for violations, such as driving under the influence, failure to yield, and speeding; all of which are leading factors in fatal crashes. There will be zero tolerance for driving under the influence and seat belt violations.
For more information about the Ohio Traffic Safety Office and statewide efforts to improve safety on Ohio’s roadways, log onto to the Wood County Sheriff’s Office website at http://www.woodcountysheriff.com or the Ohio Traffic Safety Office at http://ohiohighwaysafetyoffice.ohio.gov.
As bars and restaurants prepare for St. Patrick’s Day, and the beginning of the college basketball tournament season, the Ohio Investigative Unit and the Division of Liquor Control remind all those celebrating to do so responsibly.
If you’re 21 and over, drink plenty of water and eat food before drinking.
Drink tampering happens. If you lose sight of your drink, don’t continue to consume it.
Watch out for suspicious behavior and stay together with your group.
Do not furnish alcohol to anyone you know, or suspect, is not 21.
Designate a sober driver, public transportation, or rideshare services to get home safely.
“As St. Patrick’s Day approaches many will gather at local bars, restaurants, and private parties to celebrate,” said OIU Commander Erik Lockhart. “It’s always important to drink responsibly and prevent having to rely on luck to make it home safely. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver beforehand, have rideshare service information available, pair up with friends, and don’t leave alone or with someone you don’t know.”
Liquor permit holders are reminded when there may be additional liabilities and responsibilities to protect their establishments, employees, patrons, and their communities, to consider the following:
Be familiar with Ohio’s laws, rules and regulations involving the sale and handling of alcohol.
Ensure staff is properly checking identifications to verify the customers are 21 or older, not just at the door, but at each point of sale.
Make sure intoxicated patrons are not served. Watch for signs of intoxication to include slurred speech, difficulty making decisions, stumbling, vomiting, changed behavior, loss of consciousness, and delayed reactions.
Do not hesitate to stop serving an intoxicated patron. If you believe a person is intoxicated, ask for assistance and coordinate with management to ensure the patron gets home safely.
Staff should watch for anyone attempting to tamper with drinks.
Be sure that staff and patrons are not bringing illegal drugs into their establishments or adjacent sidewalks and parking lots.
“St. Patrick’s Day and the entire month of March is a reminder for the businesses we license to promote social responsibility with alcohol,” said Jim Canepa, DOLC superintendent. “Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to serious consequences. We strongly encourage consumers and our licensed businesses to celebrate safely and responsibly.”
Can Catholics eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day? Some dioceses grant dispensations
St. Patrick’s Day this year coincides with Lenten Friday, when Catholics traditionally abstain from meat. But after several dioceses across the United States granted dispensations, some Catholics will be able to indulge.
The Lenten loophole has been granted in a number of cities, including Boston, Washington, D.C., and in both of the dioceses covering New York City.
“This year, the Feast of St. Patrick, the patron saint of our Archdiocese, falls on a Friday during Lent. Given the importance of this feast in the life of the Archdiocese and in the lives of many Catholics, Cardinal Seán is granting a dispensation from the Friday Lenten abstinence on March 17, 2023, to those who wish to take advantage of this opportunity,” the Archdiocese of Boston wrote in a statement. “This is a one day only dispensation.”
The dispensation will allow Catholics to eat classic St. Patrick’s Day meals like corned beef and cabbage and shepherd’s pie.
Catholic leaders in Houston, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Cleveland and Minneapolis issued similar dispensations. Dioceses stressed that Catholics who plan to eat meat should visit churches, engage in pious acts and perform other acts of penance to compensate for eating meat on Friday. In Washington, D.C., the archdiocese suggested that Catholics who eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day should abstain from eating meat on a different day during Lent.
Catholics in Chicago did not receive a general dispensation.
“Instead, Catholics who find themselves at an event where meat is served in celebrating St. Patrick may in good conscience substitute the general rule of abstinence with another form of penance or a significant act of charity that benefits the poor,” the Archdiocese of Chicago wrote in a statement. “Regardless, it is important to take seriously the obligation to observe Fridays in Lent as a way of uniting ourselves to Jesus who died on Good Friday. That should not be undervalued as we reflect on his sacrifice on the Cross for the salvation of the world in this holy season.”
Catholics in New York Can Enjoy Their Corned Beef Despite St. Patrick’s Day Falling on a Friday in Lent
Seven of the eight New York dioceses have given Catholics the clear to enjoy meat this Friday
For the first time in six years, St. Patrick’s Day is intersecting with a Friday in Lent and many local Church leaders have opted to give Catholics that day off of abstaining from meat.
Originating from the Feast of St. Patrick, the holiday falls on March 17 every year, said to be the day the patron saint of Ireland died. Beyond the religious significance, the holiday is more commonly known for its partying, parades and recognition of all things Irish, including cabbage, corned beef and beer.
So how are Catholics supposed to reconcile the holiday traditions with their Lenten obligations?
According to countless dioceses around the country — including in New York — the corned beef wins out this year.
What have dioceses in New York said about eating meat on St. Patrick’s Day this year?
Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of New York — which includes Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and seven neighboring counties — announced a special dispensation to eat meat on Friday of St. Patrick’s Day.
Bishop Robert Brennan of the Diocese of Brooklyn followed with a dispensation of his own on Wednesday. His diocese also includes Queens.
The dioceses of Buffalo, Ogdensburg, Rochester, Rockville Centre and Syracuse have all offered their own dispensations, with guidance ranging from substituting a different day to abstain from meat or taking on an additional charitable act. The diocese of Albany is the only diocese in the state to not issue a dispensation…yet.
Canon law points to one explanation for the discrepancy. According to America Magazine, if St. Patrick is the patron saint of a diocese — as he is in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and others — his feast day is considered a solemnity, which takes precedence over the tradition of abstaining from meat.
Despite having one of the biggest St. Patrick’s day celebrations and a large Irish population, Chicago is not among the dioceses that claim St. Patrick as their patron saint.
When was the last time St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Friday?
It’s been six years since St. Patrick’s Day last fell on a Friday so it might be easy to forget, but the upcoming dispensation isn’t that groundbreaking.
In 2017, at least 80 of the nearly 200 dioceses around the country gave the OK to enjoy corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day during a Friday in Lent, according to Time Magazine.
Among those in the tri-state area supporting an exemption back in 2017 were New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the diocese of New York, Brooklyn, Rockville Centre and Newark.
Why is St. Patrick’s Day such a big holiday in the US?
The answer has something to do with potatoes—and politics
If you go for an afternoon stroll around the streets of Chicago, Boston, or New York City on the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day, you should be prepared for crowds of revelers, likely wearing green with a Guinness in hand. This party atmosphere belies the political nature of both the holiday and the mass immigration of Irish people to the US.
The annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day has become tradition across the US, mainly due to the massive number of Americans with Irish roots. More than 1 in 10 people in the US have ancestors who left Ireland, including US president Joe Biden, who proudly proclaims his ties to Ireland.
The vast majority of Irish immigrants to the US left during the great potato famine, fleeing a period of starvation and disease that lasted from 1845 to 1852 and killed more than 1.9 million people. During the same span of time, roughly a quarter of the country left in what is considered one of the largest exoduses in history.
The famine was due to potato blight—a fungus that caused the degeneration of potato crops across the country, which was essentially the only crop Irish farmers could grow. Because of British rule, the Irish had little say over what they grew, and the British demanded they cultivate a single cash crop, despite potatoes not being native to Ireland.
Additionally, the British kept exporting the potatoes that did survive out of Ireland, despite mass starvation. In 1997, Tony Blair, the former prime minister of the UK, apologized for his country’s lack of action during the famine.
In the decades following the famine, the Irish spread to every corner of the globe. Now, the Irish government estimates there are more than 70 million people in the world with Irish heritage, compared to only 5 million people who actually live in Ireland (close to 7 million if you include Northern Ireland).
What is St. Patrick’s Day celebrating?
Traditionally, St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the life of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, marking the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed the holiday for well over 1,000 years.
Occurring during Lent—the 40-day season of Christian observation leading up to Easter, which highlights sacrifice and fasting—St. Patrick’s Day was historically celebrated by suspending Lenten prohibitions on meat. Families would often gather to eat a traditional meal of cabbage and bacon.
The holiday evolved when Irish-Americans decided to reject rampant prejudice in the 19th and early 20th centuries by throwing loud and ostentatious parties to celebrate their heritage.
In recent decades, St. Patrick’s Day has become a global celebration of Irish culture. The National Retail Federation estimates that American consumers will spend almost $7 billion during the 2023 holiday. While it is still considered a way for members of the Irish diaspora to connect with their heritage, it has also become an opportunity for everyone else to hit the pubs and enjoy a pint, pick up a Shamrock Shake, prepare corned beef and cabbage, or perhaps restart a perpetually unfinished copy of Ulysses.
The political implications of Biden’s Irish heritage
The most famous Irish-American is probably former president John F. Kennedy. The most famous Irish-American living today is current president Joe Biden, the second Irish-Catholic to be elected to the office. Biden often speaks warmly of his mother’s close-knit Irish family.
And Biden has not been shy about politicizing this heritage, famously rejecting a BBC reporter angling for an interview, saying “The BBC? I’m Irish!”
Biden will celebrate his heritage this year by hosting the Irish Taoiseach (or “leader” in Gaelic) Leo Varadkar for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the White House, restarting a tradition interrupted by the pandemic.
He will also visit Northern Ireland for the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in April, the peace treaty that stopped decades of civil war between Protestants and Catholics. Biden personally reached out to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last month, telling him to prioritize keeping an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland during post-Brexit trade negotiations. Free travel between the two countries was an essential stipulation of the peace treaty.