In Praise of the Parish Fish FryBy Captoe
APR. 8, 2011 (http://catholicphoenix.com
) - The main problem with my parish’s Lent seasonal fish fries is that they’re just too darn tasty
. The Friday meal should be a meatless one
and it should be modest in size if you intend a partial fast of any kind. Our volunteer servers are ready with a second helping whether you’re partially fasting or not. They’re ready with seconds even when you’re about to part company with temperance altogether. But your temperance is your own affair, and not the responsibility of the Boy Scout who’s dishing out seconds.
Our home parish offers a modestly priced, absolutely delicious, fish dinner with an option for cheese pizza. The proceeds all benefit St. Vincent de Paul. The servers are volunteers from the varied ministries in the parish; the Knights of Colombus, the Ladies’ Sodality, the Scouts, the School Dads and others all show up through Lent to help the St. Vincent de Paul society put it on.
The chief benefit is not the tasty meal, but the community built through it.
The kids will find friends and enjoy the time in ways too boisterous for a restaurant, so if you’re uncomfortable with the noise of a family meal that includes joyful young children maybe you should just get take out (yes, we offer take out as well!)
Here is what C.S. Lewis’ chief tempter Screwtape wants you to think about your fellow parishioners:
When he gets to his pew and looks round him he sees just that selection of his neighbours whom he has hitherto avoided. You want to lean pretty heavily on those neighbours. Make his mind flit to and fro between an expression like ‘the body of Christ’ and the actual faces on the next pew. It matters very little, of course, what kind of people that next pew really contains. You may know one of them to be a great warrior on the Enemy’s side. No matter. Your patient, thanks to Our Father Below, is a fool. Provided that any of those neighbors sing out of tune, or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous.
Imagine the absolute conniption that sitting down to a familial meal with a couple of hundred of your brothers-in-arms of the Church militant must give Old Screwtape. He doesn’t want you to know them or pray for them at all– he wants you to judge them, ridicule them, and despise them.
Share in the meal that marks us as Catholics, squeaky boots and all. We’re fisheaters.
If anything beats sitting down to eat a Lenten dinner with your parish brethren it must be putting on an apron and serving them. It’s not a ritual washing of feet, it is more like real life, like being a table busser at a busy restaurant, or like a big family home where Mom doesn’t get to sit down until some people have finished and the food’s cold.