The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

What's Happening

February 24, 2009

Soul searching | Churches brushing off recipes for annual Lenten luncheons



The Roman Catholic Church dictates that members abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent, so the faithful often turn to ever-popular fish fries to meet their obligation.

The 40-day period begins today and extends through Holy Saturday (April 11) and is marked by fasting and abstaining from meat.

SS. Casimir & Emerich’s Roman Catholic Church, 501 Power St. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown, has a long-standing tradition of offering one of the finest fish fries in the region.

However, the continuation of the Friday offerings are uncertain because of the approaching closing of the Cambria City church.

“That remains to be seen,” said Carol Pisula, SS. Casimir & Emerich’s secretary. “The transitional council will have to weigh the decision to keep the fundraiser.”

Bishop Joseph Adamec, leader of the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese, disclosed in December that St. Stephen will serve as Cambria City’s consolidated worship site.

Another neighborhood church, St. Rochus, will remain open to serve a yet-unspecified function within the new parish.

And three other churches – Immaculate Conception, St. Columba and SS. Casimir & Emerich – will be closed as of July 22.

A transitional council, the body leading the merger process and made up of two members from each of the five parishes, will ultimately make the recommendation of whether fish fries will continue in the new parish.

SS. Casimir & Emerich invested more than $12,000 several years ago to upgrade its kitchen facilties, and that, too, is a subject of debate as far as what will happen to the equipment.

The church will have a fish fry today and each Friday during Lent, beginning March 6, and most likely will return to its original schedule of serving meals on the second Friday of each month after Easter – at least until June.

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