August 6, 1964
On Thursday, August 6, 1964, Father Dermot O’Keefe, Secretary to Archbishop Patrick J. Skinner, Roman Catholic Archbishop of St. John’s contacted all of the local radio stations and newspapers with the important announcement that he (the Archbishop)
“has granted a general dispensation from the law of abstinence from meat on tomorrow (Friday, August 7th) to all Roman Catholics in all parishes of the Archdiocese of St. John’s.”
The Archbishop stated “Meat is therefore permitted as often as desired on this Friday, whether the Regatta is held or not.”
In the Roman Catholic Church their are certain disciplinary observances that were encouraged. On Friday’s, Christians are encouraged to fast. That fast takes the form of avoiding meat in the diet.
With the Regatta cancelled because of inclement weather on Wednesday, August 5, 1964 and the weather not looking good for Thursday, August 6, 1964 Archbishop Skinner insisted that the “law of abstinence from meat on Friday, August 7, 1964 be dispensed.”
With the law dispensed Roman Catholics could stand at Quid Vidi Lake enjoying the Regatta with hotdogs and hamburgers in hand with the rest of the population.
Recommended Reading: A Day at the Races: Mysteries of the Royal St. John’s Regatta, 2003 by Jack FitzGerald
Recommended Archival Collection: At The Rooms, Provincial Archives Division take some time to look at VA 61: Souvenir 1912 Regatta, St. John’s, Newfoundland / photographed and published by P.H. Cowan (St. John’s, N.L)
Recommended Web Site: http://regatta.nlpl.ca/ or http://www.stjohnsregatta.org/old/events_dates.html