But sometimes there are exceptions! This Friday, March 17th 2017, might be one of those exceptions for you, depending on where you live.
It just so happens that this Friday is St. Patrick’s Day. That by itself doesn’t mean you can eat meat, but you can if at least one of these other conditions is met:
First, if St. Patrick is the patron of your diocese (e.g. the Archdiocese of New York), his feast is a solemnity for you and fasting is not required. This is true for all solemnities, such as the feast of St. Joseph (normally March 19th, celebrated March 20th this year), which sometimes falls on a Friday during Lent.
Second, a bishop can grant a dispensation to everyone in his diocese from the normal fasting requirement. Dubbed the “Corned Beef Indult” (since corned beef is a customary food for St. Patrick’s Day), Rocco Palmer reports that the bishops of at least 112 dioceses in the United States have granted permission to their faithful to forego the normal abstinence from meat this Friday to allow for better celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
Note that some dioceses have conditions on their indults, such as only allowing meat at events on church property, or requiring that you do some other penance. So be sure to check with your diocese for precise information. (If St. Patrick is not the patron of your diocese, and if your bishop has not granted an indult, then the normal requirement to abstain from meat still applies.)