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Lenten Fish Fries...

In the Cincinnati area, many Catholic parishes and schools sponsor “fish fries” as social activities and fundraisers during Lent. They are popular. So popular, in fact, that fast food restaurants offer fish sandwiches for Lent, lest they lose customers to the fish fries. Sometimes there are major discussions on the radio and TV about what parish or school has the best fish fry in town.

Of course, if fish fries also serve beer, shrimp and crab, there goes any penance as far as I am concerned. I mean, those foods are more like a temptation to gluttony—to pig out—as far as I am concerned. Fish fries are nice. I get to one or the other during Lent.

But what is the purpose of fasting and abstaining from meat during Lent?

Basically, the discipline of Lent is intended to heighten our spiritual awareness, to open our hearts and minds to the needs of others, to lead us to pray more and hold our desires under control. As Franciscan Bishop Rembert Kowalski used to say:

“Pray more, eat less. Eat less, live longer.”

Bishop Kowalski was a friar who was imprisoned during the Communist Revolution in China. After release and his return to health, Bishop Kowalski was living in our novitiate house when I joined the order. He was an ascetical man who always prayed and sacrificed for the church in China. He made a great impression on me, though he was quite eccentric.

May Lent be a time of spiritual growth and greater service to our neighbors, especially the poor and those in need. But it is OK to enjoy a Lenten fish fry, too!

Photo:  Shutterstock

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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."