GALLIPOLIS — For many Christians, the season of Lent represents a time of reflection, repentance and fasting, and for many of the members of Saint Louis Catholic Church in Gallipolis, this repentance takes the form of volunteerism as they serve the host of hungry visitors who flock to their parish center each Friday evening for six weeks before Easter.
The annual Lenten Fish Fry at the catholic church, located at the corner of State Street and Fourth Avenue in Gallipolis, has been ongoing since the early ’90s when it was traditionally held in the basement of the church. With the construction of the new John Paul II Parish Center with its state-of-the-art kitchen in 2009, the Lenten Fish Fry expanded to the center and is a yearly treat for diners who come to enjoy the beautiful dining hall, delicious food and the abundant hospitality of the host of volunteers, both young and old alike, who dish out pounds of fish and delectable desserts to over 100 guests each week.
According to Matt Bokovitz, a church member and fish fry volunteer, on average, 115 people are served each week, with 145 being the most ever served at a fish fry.
“We always talk about getting to 150, but we never break the record,” Bokovitz laughed.
Dinner, which lasts from 4:30-7 p.m., costs $9 for adults and $4.50 for children under age 12 for all you can eat fish. Kids under the age of three eat for free. Carryout orders are also available. All proceeds go directly back to Saint Louis Catholic Church.
Lent, or the 40-day period prior to Easter, commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert where he endured temptations by Satan and is the Christian’s preparation for Easter Sunday through the reflection on Christ’s suffering and sacrifice. According to Bokovitz, while many of the volunteers see their work at the fish fry as a penance during the Lenten season, others find great joy in serving others and return each year because of the rewarding experience.
“The people who work here, we keep coming back because we have such a good time while we’re here,” Bokovitz said. “A lot of people make this one of their Lenten sacrifices, some people just love the camaraderie. There are all kind of reasons why people come to work, but we always have great fellowship.”
While only three more Lenten fish fries remain this season, March 8, 15 and 22, the volunteers welcome all who will, to come and enjoy a good meal while supporting their church.
“Anybody and everybody can come,” Bokovitz said. “The more the merrier.”
For more information or to place a carryout order next Friday, call the parish center at (740) 446-6986.