Lenten Fish Fries Adjusting for Fish Shortages

Mix the batter, dip 1,000 pounds of fish and throw them in the fryer.

Since 1983, Sacred Heart Academy in Mt. Pleasant has put on its fish fry every Friday evening during Lent.

“People keep coming back to our fish fry because it is so delicious,” said Scott Pieratt, Vice President of Sacred Heart Academy Athletics Association. “Jesus gave his life on the cross, and this is a small act we can do so we abstain from eating meat on Fridays and in turn eat fish.”

Last year, Sacred Heart Academy had to change their Lent Fish Fry Friday dinners from in-person to curbside because of COVID-19 restrictions. That’s continuing this year.

“Some days, it takes 35 to 40 minutes to get through the line, but most people know what they are getting into, and they love it so much they’re willing to support, and we thank them,” said Pieratt.

This year, a new obstacle is a fish shortage, forcing prices to soar. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports fish prices increased by more than 10% over the last year.

“We kept the dinner the same price as last year $15, and we upped the fish only $5 from $20 to $25,” said Pieratt.

In some Catholic schools, such as Saint Brigid in Midland, the shortage is canceling their fish fries.

“It was a decision that staff and volunteers made just a couple of weeks ago as they were about ready to place orders,” said Fr. Andy Booms, Pastor at Saint Brigid Catholic Church. “Suddenly, the pricing of the fish changed dramatically, and the supplier said honestly, even if you order, I couldn’t deliver it.”

Lent fish fries are a primary fundraiser for the schools. Saint Brigid is now finding other ways to fundraise.

“As mom would always say if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans,” said Fr. Booms.