Lent brings community together through fried fish

By Michelle Costanza

March 8, 2014 Updated Mar 8, 2014 at 12:57 AM EDT

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Church of the Holy Family and St. Anthony of Padua are continuing the annual tradition of fish frys through the Lenten season.

While Catholics abstain from eating meat on Friday, the two parishes give them something to look forward to for the next 40 days -- sizzling haddock dinners.

"This is a season when all Christians are preparing to celebrate the feast of Easter and the Resurrection. It's a time of self-reflection and it's like a retreat for us," explained Fr. Jim Serowik of St. Anthony's.

Over a hundred parishioners volunteered their time beginning preparations on Wednesday morning and continued the work of baking, frying, serving, and cleaning through Friday night.

For the 1,200 people expected at Church of the Holy Family, the choices of baked or fried fish or fried shrimp were served among coleslaw, applesauce, macaroni and cheese, rolls, and a wide variety of homemade desserts.

Those who sampled St. Anthony of Padua's offerings enjoyed pirohi alongside their fish.

Both parish halls were set up with tables to eat in, to-go lines, and a drive-up option for those who wanted to eat in.

"It's our fifth year and we just have a lot of fun doing it. The sun is bright and shining, the days are getting longer, it's a sign Spring is coming," said Donald Blake, volunteer at Church of the Holy Family.

"We started at six a.m. It's a great community builder," added parishoner Hannon.

Church of the Holy Family will hold their fish fry each Friday night from 3:30-7PM through Easter.

St. Anthony of Padua will serve up the seafood for five more Fridays as well, from 4-6:30PM.

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