Parish Lenten tradition returns to Brownsville


By Jerry Zufelt


The Lenten fish fry is a long-standing tradition in southwestern Pennsylvania and the Diocese of Greensburg. Parishioners come together to work countless hours preparing, cooking, serving and cleaning to help their parishes raise critical funds to support ministries and missions and to reach out to people in their local communities.

The fish fry is back after a nearly two-decade absence in Brownsville, which is also home to one of the oldest parishes in the diocese, St. Peter Parish, Brownsville.

The former St. Mary Parish hosted a fish fry until 2002, when falling bricks from the adjacent school building damaged the kitchen. That led to the eventual closing and demolition of the school and church.

However, the new St. Peter Parish Center has risen on that site and is ready to host its first fish fry this Lent.

“St. Mary’s was always known for its wonderful fish fries. We will be attempting to reestablish that tradition and, hopefully, its excellent reputation,” said Father Timothy J. Kruthaupt, pastor of St. Peter Parish.

Fish fry proceeds will be used to help pay off the center’s construction debt, according to Father Kruthaupt.

“But, the true purpose for building it was to create a facility that would enable us to have social gatherings. We hope to rebuild and strengthen the unity of our faith community,” he said.

Parishioners have helped with the development of the kitchen facility in the new building, Father Kruthaupt said, noting that parishioners who own and operate restaurants are providing invaluable assistance with advice and direction on the layout and operation of the kitchen.

He said parishioners are volunteering to cook and serve, and others have provided advice on operating events.

“For the last several months, we’ve had gatherings of parishioners who are sharing their experiences from the fundraisers conducted by St. Peter and St. Mary parishes prior to the loss of their gathering spaces,” Father Kruthaupt said.

“We are hopeful that we will hit the ground running.”