(Tribune file photo)
The popular fish fries, organized by the Knights of Columbus Council No. 796, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. starting Friday, Feb. 15, at the Kennedy Gymnasium located at 716 S. Eddy St. They will be held each Friday for six weeks throughout the Lenten season, with the exception of Good Friday, March 29.
The fish fries have been gathering events for Catholic parishioners and non-Catholics for about 25 years. The events have become not just about the food, but friends and fellowship, Knights member George Kutey said.
The organization of the fish fries, from preparation to serving and clean-up, is done by more than 140 members of the local Knights of Columbus council, Kutey said.
"We get a lot of support from non-Catholics and other churches," he said. "It turns out to be a social interaction."
The menu for the dinners will include catfish, breaded and baked cod, French fries, baked potatoes and all the fixings, a vegetable such as green beans or corn, meatless spaghetti with tomato sauce, rolls, and a variety of beverages such as coffee and tea.
The women of the Mary Queen of Angels Church parish will provide the desserts, Kutey said.
A freewill offering will be requested, with money raised through the events going toward various local charities, including Mother to Mother Ministries, Birthline, and The Beacon. Carryout service is a popular option that will be available, Kutey said.
Past fish fries have included fundraisers for St. Mary's Catholic School.
Kutey said there are typically more than 300 people at each meal and they often begin lining up before 5 p.m.
Church doctrine requires that Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent, which runs from Feb. 13 (Ash Wednesday) to March 28 (Holy Thursday, three days before Easter Sunday), or Holy Saturday, the day after Good Friday and the day before Easter. Fish fries are popular events in Catholic parishes throughout the U.S.
Lent is a period devoted to fasting, abstinence and penitence in commemoration of Christ's fasting in the wilderness.
The events are open to anyone in the community, regardless of church or religious affiliation.