Lenten Fish Fries Bring Community Together

People gathered at Holy Infant Catholic Church for the weekly fish fry from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8.
People gathered at Holy Infant Catholic Church for the weekly fish fry from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8.
Media by Samantha Perz

 

At Holy Infant Catholic Church, people young and old line up to fill their plates with fried fish, mac n’ cheese and cookies as the community gathers for food and fellowship.

Fish fry menu (Media by Holy Infant Catholic Church)

From mid-February to the end of March, this is what Friday nights look like for families who attend fish fries as part of Catholic festivities during Lent. Fish fries are an opportunity for Catholics and non-Catholics to gather and enjoy a meatless meal during the 40 days between the Catholic observance of Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday. 

“They say that Jesus gave up his flesh on Good Friday, so every Friday we don’t eat the flesh of meat,” Izzy Buckallew, senior, said.

Buckallew attends Holy Infant and goes to Fish Fries with her family. Her father, Scott Buckallew, volunteers every Friday as either a cashier or server with the Men’s Club at the church.

Nora Benz, junior, is Izzy’s stepsister and has been attending Fish Fries at Holy Infant since she was in sixth grade. When she was younger, Benz enjoyed being able to spend time with her friends at the event.

“All the little kids were around the same age so we would go play on the playground and hang out,” Benz said.

They say that Jesus gave up his flesh on Good Friday, so every Friday we don’t eat the flesh of meat,

— Izzy Buckallew

Laura Marie Coverstone, language arts teacher, has also attended Fish Fries since her childhood. This year, she is volunteering at Saint Joseph Parish in Manchester with her husband Jim and sons Elliott, 9, and August, 7.

August Coverstone, 7, clears plates at the fish fry at Saint Joseph Parish in Manchester on Friday, March 8. He volunteered for the first time in the dining room with his family including Laura Marie Coverstone, language arts teacher. (Media by Laura Marie Coverstone)

Her family will be working in the dining room, and Coverstone looks forward to watching her children serve the community.

“I love that we’re taking a Friday night to be together as a family to take care of others,” Coverstone said.

In addition to the typical fried fish, rolls and fries, Saint Joseph offers fish tacos prepared by the church’s large Hispanic population. It’s a unique spin that has become a local favorite, Coverstone said.

So often, society gets chaotic and life gets chaotic, and to just take a moment to sit down and have a meal and talk to people is amazing.

— Laura Marie Coverstone

Coverstone appreciates how fish fries offer a place for the community to gather.

“There’s something to be said about sitting down, sharing a meal and slowing down the pace,” Coverstone said. “So often, society gets chaotic and life gets chaotic, and to just take a moment to sit down and have a meal and talk to people is amazing.”

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