One Fish, Two Fish: Annual Fish Fry Begins At St. John’s Church

The Rev. Dennis Mende of Holy Apostles Parish displays the first Lenten Fish Fry of the season at St. John’s Church in Jamestown. Pictured from left behind Mende are Joe Lisciandro, Carol Lisciandro, Bill Gullotti, Diana Purtell, Tina Russo and Nancy Cummings. P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

While people don’t generally go to church to get fish, St. John’s Church is an exception.

During the Lenten season, which begins after Feb. 14, the church invites parishioners and community members to enjoy a golden brown fish fry or broiled fish on Friday for their annual piscatorial tradition. The Rev. Dennis Mende of Holy Apostles Parish said his favorite dish is the broiled fish.

Mende said the dinners started many years ago as a way to build the parish community, and have a place to share a meal during Lent.

“It’s just grown over the years,” he said. “We’ve gotten a great response from the community. It’s important to bring the parish community together, and then that extends out from our parish community to the greater community.”

Mende said fish is eaten on Fridays during Lent as a personal sacrifice.

“Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and then goes about 40 days,” he said. “If you try to count out an exact 40 days, you don’t get an exact 40 days between now and Easter. But 40 is a very scripturally based number, and you see the number 40 all throughout the Old Testament. Basically, it’s a way of saying a long time.”

Mende said people can come to the church to have dinner or they can call 484-8554 and order dinner to go.

Fish is served either broiled or fried alongside a choice of two sides, including golden-brown French fries, coleslaw, potato salad or applesauce. The church also offers meals that include fried shrimp, a combination of fish and shrimp or vegetable lasagna. For adults, a dinner costs $10, while a child’s dinner costs $8. A vegetable lasagna dinner costs $8.

The dinners will continue every Friday throughout Lent except for Good Friday. The dinner lasts from 4:30-7 p.m. each week.

St. John’s Church is located at 270 Newton Ave. in Jamestown.