LEOMINSTER — Back in 1991, an idea based on fellowship and preparing for Easter was born. Now 32 years later, this tradition, the annual six weeks of Lenten fish dinners, lives on at St. Anna Parish.
“Not much has changed in 32 years,” said Angela Cahill, vice president, St. Anna Society. “The hustle and bustle of the St. Anna Society ladies will once again be taking over the church hall in preparation for the fish dinners beginning Friday, Feb. 24.”
Some will be prepping potato wedges, others dipping and breading the haddock. In another room, deserts are being wrapped for takeout dinners.
“The camaraderie and laughter fills the rooms in spite of the tiring work,” she said.
A familiar face in the crowd at the dinners is Father Carlos Ruiz.
“He loves experiencing the camaraderie and laughter as people enjoy their dinner, have a glass of wine, meet old and new friends and tell stories of the past,” Cahill said.
In addition, as Father Carlos well knows, no one is exempt from being put to work if you hang around long enough.
“In a few short hours, the line will begin to form and the regulars, with new faces peppered in the crowd each week, await the first tray of delicious haddock to come out of the oven,” said Cahill. “Next thing you know the dining area will be filled.”
Cahill said there will be a few new traditions continuing this year that were held the last few years.
“We will once again hold a 50/50 raffle each week,” she said. “Our TV raffle will be back by popular demand, for every full fish dinner ticket purchased, you will be entered in a free drawing to win a LG 43” TV at the end of the six weeks. And of course, our favorite, addition, a glass of wine can be purchased with your dinner.”
Lenten dinners will be served from 4 until 7 p.m., (or until food is sold out) Fridays, Feb. 24, March 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31, in the church’s hall, 194 Lancaster St. Take-out meals will also be available.
Enjoy baked haddock, coleslaw, potato, vegetable, macaroni and cheese or pasta with marinara sauce, dessert, and a beverage. Tickets are $13.
In addition, a bowl of chowder can be purchased for $6 or macaroni and cheese or pasta marinara dinner (all above except haddock) for $6.
A glass of wine will be available for $3 during dinner for your added enjoyment.
“If you haven’t been to one of our fish dinners, come on down for a delicious piece of fresh haddock (breaded in the secret St. Anna 32-year-old recipe) with delightful side dishes,” Cahill said. “If anyone needs help getting into the hall, we can help. We have young people who are doing community service that can carry their trays and get them seated. We are handicap friendly with elevators to get into the hall.”
Proceeds from the fish dinners goes right back into the community.
“St. Anna Society is all about helping people, not only in the parish, but at St. Anna School and in the community, as well,” said Cahill. “We look forward to welcoming our old friends, and the new friends, to be a part of our “la nostra nuova famiglia” … our new family.”
For more information, visit stannaparish.org.