Thursday, March 11, 2010

Joemas Gifts: Saintly Treats... and Friday Meats

Lest anyone's tempted to think otherwise, be forewarned: your monitor isn't edible.

As always, the Green Beer, Irish potatoes -- and, of course, Corned Beef -- of St Paddy's Day might be taking the dominant line as feast-day food goes this time of year... but for the Northeastern Italians among us (and those elsewhere lucky enough to have the goods shipped their way by friends), these mid-March days are all about (Spring Training and) the Zeppoli, the cream-filled cakes shown above that traditionally herald St Joseph's Day, observed annually on the 19th.

While the lines outside the South Pharaohtown bakeries are already out the doors for The Most Blessed of All Pastries, this year's celebration of Jesus's foster-father (and the church's universal patron, to boot) brings an added bonus: given its place on a Lenten Friday, the penitential practice is globally superseded -- that is, the obligation to abstain from meat disappears.

The provision for the switch-up comes courtesy of Canon 1251, which stipulates that "abstinence from meat is to be observed... unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday." For the record, the rule also applies to next year's Annunciation Day, 25 March, which will likewise come at the workweek's end.

Admittedly, this isn't as fun as covering the "Corned Beef Indult" -- the customary roster of dioceses that relax the no-meat rule within their boundaries whenever St Patrick's Day falls on Friday. Said blessed event won't occur again 'til 2017.

Still, lest anyone was unaware of the Joe's Day reprieve, there you have it... and let the carnivores among us rejoice.