LE SUEUR, Minn. - On St. Patrick's Day in Le Sueur the meat was on.
“It's one of those days where it's great to be a Catholic and living in the Saint Paul Minneapolis Diocese,” said Greg Hagg at The Bar in Le Sueur, digging into a bowl of cabbage and corned beef.
Le Sueur falls by a whisker in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, which granted Catholics a St. Patrick's Day dispensation from their meatless Lenten Friday.
“Yeah, made a big difference, lots of corned beef today,” said Colleen Rohloff, who owns The Bar with her husband.
But across the river in Henderson, no dispensation in the Diocese of New Ulm - the only diocese among the six in Minnesota which did not grant a meatless waiver.
“Just another Friday night for Lent,” said Amy Ross, who owns the Henderson RoadHaus with her husband Danny.
Danny manned the fryer Friday night, serving up golden brown fillets of pollock.
“Outside of Lent we'll do 20 pounds for the weekend,” said Danny Ross. “Now we're up to about 80 pounds.”
The RoadHaus was frying burgers too, but not for Catholic Nick Heinz, who dined on fish.
“If Jesus died for our sins, you know, I can go without meat for a day,” Heinz said.
A similar attitude at St. Anne's School on the meat side of the river in Le Sueur, where Principal Diane Lee said meat is never served on Fridays out of respect of a Catholic rule in place before 1966.
“Some of the Catholic traditions are also important to this community, so we continue to carry them on,” said Lee.
Dispensation or not, at The Bar in Le Sueur, Vinne Headd said he’d be eating fish on Friday night.
“My mother is a strong believer in that,” said Headd, who recently moved to Le Sueur from Ireland. “It's a small sacrifice.”
But even that level of sacrifice is something, when the Irishman is also a butcher.
“If wasn't for meat I wouldn't have a job,” smiled Headd.