Friday Fish-Fries


I usually try to refrain from judging other people, but am I the only one who thinks going to an expensive fish-fry on a Friday in Lent somewhat silly?

My understanding is that giving up meat is supposed to be a sort of sacrifice. But in our culture today, seafood is usually more of a delicacy than meat is. So instead of Catholics eating a sloppy joe sandwich or a hot dog (although that actually might not be considered meat), many will spend twice as much as they usually do to go to a nice seafood restaurant.

My parish hosts a fish fry on Friday night for $10 a head. That doesn’t quite seem to be in the spirit of sacrificing.

I don’t know… it would be like a parish instructing people not to drink beer on Fridays, but then encouraging them to drink vodka.


They’re obeying the instruction to abstain from meat and I assume the fish fry is a fund raiser for the parish or some group within the parish. It seems like a win-win situation to me.


But they seem to be living by the letter of the law, not the spirit.

If the Vatican told you not to drink beer on Holy Thursday, would you find it okay to drink vodka instead?


If I couldn’t drink beer then I would find something else to drink. Probably not vodka since I’m not big on alcohol, but something else. If my parish had a big Holy Thursday Cappuccino sale with the money going to support some ministry, I would probably take part and again, feel that it was a win-win situation.

My parish doesn’t have a fish fry so I don’t have a dog in this race. It seems like a nice idea to me for people to have a social event and raise money.


Everyone is different. Going to such a thing is exactly a penance for me. The fish will be bad, I will have to sit at an uncomfortable folding table in a small gym, it will be loud, with lots of yelling, I will be forced to socialize when I would rather rest, I will need to maneuver a small plastic fork and tippy styrofoam cup, I won’t get to eat any nice steamed broccoli or the like, rather, I’ll be stuck eating potato chips, pop, and tartar sauce. In other words, I would only go because duty led me there. Perfect!

Also, having to spend that much money for some people will translate into a food budget pinch, which could result in eating more potatoes or rice the following week (ie, a further penance). When our parish does these sorts of things, the price is lower.

What is a penance can be very relative to the person.


Our parish fish fry is only $5 a person, sitting in a school gym on hard plastic chairs - I hardly call that extravagant.

Now you do have folks who will head to Red Lobster and spend $60+ for a meal and call it a Lenten Friday - that is a problem. But a parish fish fry (where money goes back to the parish, and often there is prayer or stations of the cross) is not extravagant.



I love fish fries. It’s a great way to take part in a fundraiser, be with other catholics, and take part in catholic culture. I grew up with these and it was something I truly missed while I was away from church. THe last few weeks I’ve met some great new people and gotten to visit a bunch of catholic churches in the area. I look forward to eating fish during lent, I wish we still do it all year.

You could also think of it as a way of doing penance together and in cooperation. Instead of abstaining from meat and eating fish individually, all these catholic people get togetther and do it in one place, proudly.

IMO, there’s no way to lose. It’s a total win-win.


Hmmmm. No. I don’t think it’s silly. It’s a chance for parishioners to come together, get to know one another better… in a spirit of “family”. It’s also a great opportunity for us to give a little more, for the support of our own parishes.

You’re right… that fish has become quite a yummy delicacy in recent years! But that is a “gift” from Our Good Lord. In other words, we’re not supposed to eat meat on Friday’s… so He inspired people who cook… to come up with wonderful fish recipes! Just a thought. Remember what St. James tells us…

“Every good gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:17). :thumbsup:

Our parish is charging $6.00 a head… and $18.00 for entire families. This year, they are offering a BAKED version of the fish, along with the traditional fried fish (and Hush Puppies and Cole Slaw! Mmmm :yup: ). Healthy! :smiley:

God bless.


My dear friend

Is a good point. Perhaps the $10 is almsgiving too though?

God bless you:)


I’m not too crazy about deep-fried, breaded fish, and it costs us $7.00 for adults, $4.00 for children, but:

First, ours is put on by the K of C, and the proceeds are well used. It’s expensive precisely because they’re fund-raising for charitable causes.

Second, ours immediately follows Stations and Benediction. I like to pick up the grandchildren (their parents go too) and go. We fill up more than a whole row in the church.

After Stations and Benediction, the kids go up and light candles for their various intentions and say prayers for them. Girls on the Blessed Mother side, Boys on the Jesus side. I know, that’s kind of sexist, but they like it that way. Even the smallest of them like doing it. It’s heart-warming to see the littlest ones learn, clumsily, to genuflect and make the sign of the cross. It’s neat, year after year, to hear their voices mature for the hymns sung.

Then it’s down to the fish fry. By then the kids are hungry and would eat nearly anything. Lots of people we know. Lots of kids the kids know. Lots of amusement at the little kids’ food preferences and habits (one prefers honeyed bread to eerything else). I enjoy helping the smallest ones get their trays and make dessert selections.

Yes, it costs a lot for the food one gets, especially if one is buying for eight adults and seven children. But again, it’s really a charitable thing, and we feel we get a lot for it, and not just the food.

There are a LOT worse ways to spend a Friday evening.


That’s not for you to judge!!


Then why start now?

If the Vatican told you not to drink beer on Holy Thursday, would you find it okay to drink vodka instead?

I might, as if this was the rule then it is beer, not all drinks containing alcohol.

If this is not for you then do not go, but why must you pass judgment on those who do go? And if this is a parish function then it is also giving to a good cause which is something to be commended not judged just because you happen to dislike it.


I personally don’t like the practice. For me, it’s not a penance to eat fish - I like fish. Our K of C has a huge fish fry during the day/afternoon on Good Friday. I really don’t like that. People from all around the county(not just Catholics) come to it. I think the donations are optional. It takes place right during the time when Christ is supposed to be on the cross and, in my opinion, it takes away from the more serious attitude appropriate for that time on that day. On other Fridays, I may not have as much of a problem with it, but this one really irks me!


At our parish during Lent we have 5:30 mass, dinner at a little after 6 consisting of 2 or 3 different soups ( usually vegetable, tomato and either clam chowder or potato) and PB&J sandwiches. At 7pm we have Stations. All this for donations only. It makes for a lovely evening.

It was during Lent and a man went to the local monastery for mass, stations and a lovely supper of fried fish and chips. He so enjoyed the fried catfish that he asked to go back and thank the cook personally.
He went into the kitchen and found a man in a long black robe and tabard with a white apron over all.
He said to him jokingly "Hey are you the fish friar?"
To which the monk replied, “Nope, I’m the chip monk.”:wink:


Wow… your parish does this on Good Friday? :eek: I agree, with you. We’re supposed to fast and do penance on ESPECIALLY Good Friday. The parish fish frys… are sort of “festive” in the sense, that it’s usually a large gathering… families sitting around, lots of small kids, neighbors greeting one another, etc. Doesn’t seem quite right for this to happen on Good Friday. Hmm.

I believe our parish wraps up the Lenten “Fish Frys”… the Friday before Holy Week begins. :shrug: In Lent’s past… Good Friday has been a very somber day of remembrance at our parish. I’m sure it will be kept so… as our new Pastor is a very spiritual man.


I must admit / agree with another poster that in view of parishes’ need to raise funds, a “fish fry” is a good way to bring in some $$$. Let’s not forget that during this season there’s also St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s Feasts. Many parishes hold functions with these themes, as well, also with the intention of raising funds. (If they don’t fall on a Friday, those functions don’t include fish. And if they DO fall on a Friday, let’s not forget the exceptions to the rule (providing they are permitted by the Church), i.e. the year St. Patrick’s fell on a Friday - and the Pope gave a dispensation so as to eat corned beef that day.

It’s true - It is following the “letter of the law” versus the “spirit” - as pointed out by another poster. But if we want to go the extra mile - beyond the letter of the law??? Then, you could just make that fish dinner your one full meal that day…in other words, a fast day w/o the demand of the law. Or be sure to say the Stations of the Cross that day, as well. But eating fish (or any dish other than meat) on Fridays constitutes doing what is commanded/required.


At my parish, they have Stations of the Cross at 5:30 with the Lenten Meal at 6:00. Each week it benefits a different group at the church. This Friday is the Fish Fry and will benefit the Knights.

It is a great way to support the Knights and to pray Stations with other parish members


I think this is a misunderstanding. *Penance *does not necessarily equate to *sacrifice *(or at least: not to the sort of *sacrifice *that causes one discomfort). The Catechism says
1434 The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others.

1438 The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).
Is prayer supposed to make us uncomfortable? Is almsgiving? Is there not *sacrifice *in the act of submitting one’s will to that of the Church?

:twocents: And this is bordering on scrupulosity.

*The Church *(hypothetically) requires us to not drink beer. We’d better not drink vodka either, or at least not drink anything enjoyable. Maybe we’d better not drink anything at all?

It just doesn’t follow.

The Church (in actuality) requires us to not eat flesh meat. It does not require us to eat bad-tasting food nor to refrain from enjoying food entirely.

“Wash your face and groom your hair, and let no one know you are fasting”



Fortunately, this law of the Church is a negative command (“abstain from meat”), rather than a positive one (eg *“partake something that tastes bad” *:eek:). Think how subjective that would be! I suppose I would be stuck with eating watermelon (yuk! but it’s the only food I’ve ever met that I did not like) for three squares, or going completely hungry.

Even on Good Friday, the rules of the fast allow the faithful one full meal.



Aside: I do not think you will find the pope granting such a dispensation, though local ordinaries, especially in places under the patronage of St Patrick :irish3:, may and have done so.


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