Lenten fish fries a Catholic and community tradition

Knights of Columbus fish fry

Knights of Columbus Council 8935 member Todd Johnson serves during a Lenten fish fry for Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church in Burnet. The Knights of Columbus participate in many service projects and fundraisers across the community. The fish fries support parish high school scholarships. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

A Lenten tradition for Catholic parishioners is to give up meat, particularly that of warm-blooded animals, on Fridays. And since fish are cold-blooded, Lenten Friday fish fries were born.

Every Friday during Lent — with the exception of Good Friday — there’s a good chance many Catholic churches are holding a fish fry. Members of the Knights of Columbus Council 8935 do one at Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church from 5-7 p.m. in the parish hall, 507 Buchanan Drive in Burnet.

“This is one of the ways we support the church and the community,” said Jim Balsam, a member of the local council.

Money from the fish fries goes to the Our Mother of Sorrows high school scholarship fund.

Rodger Woods, another Knights of Columbus member, pointed out that the Friday fish fries are also a great community event.

“It’s a good chance for everyone to get together,” he said. “They come in, enjoy a good meal, and talk. That’s what I see a lot of: people just talking over a meal.”

The meal includes catfish, fries, coleslaw, hush puppies, beans, a drink, and dessert for $10. You can dine in or carry out.

Knights of Columbus fish fry
Jim Coffman (left) and Ray Gonzales work the fryers in the Knights of Columbus Council 8935 trailer during a Friday Lenten fish fry. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Inside the church’s kitchen area, Knights of Columbus members Les Landers and Mike Peraino prep the fish before sending it to the fryer. If an order for grilled or blackened catfish comes in, Peraino cooks it.

The Knights of Columbus were born in 1882 in New Haven, Connecticut. The Rev. Michael J. McGivney thought a men’s lay organization would keep Catholic men from entering secret societies, something that went against Catholic teachings. It was more than just a fraternal organization. Part of the initial mission was to help take care of fatherless families. Over the years, the Knights of Columbus’ mission has grown as members help where they can in their communities.

“We have four things we strive for: charity, fraternity, unity, and patriotism,” Landers said.

“We’re just a bunch of regular Catholic guys getting together to help out,” Peraino added.

Council 8935 has a mobile trailer in which they deep fry the fish. It’s parked behind the Our Mother of Sorrows parish hall most Friday afternoons and evenings during Lent, but council members take it to other places for fundraisers or to help feed people during emergencies.

“Just helping people, that’s what it’s about,” Balsam said.

daniel@thepicayune.com

LENTEN FISH FRIES

  • Our Mother of Sorrows, 507 Buchanan Drive in Burnet — 5-7 p.m. Fridays. See above for menu and cost.
  • St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 105 RR 1431 in Marble Falls — 5:30-7:30 p.m. Fridays. Fried or baked fish, coleslaw, hush puppies, fries, sweet potato fries, dessert, and drink Cost is $10 for adults and $7 for children.
  • St. Paul the Apostle Church, 201 Dalton Circle in Horseshoe Bay — 6 p.m. Friday, March 27 (one fish fry only). Purchase tickets for $10 ahead of time after Mass or by calling the parish office at 830-598-8342.

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