At the fish fry

May 1, 2021 -- Living City

At the fish fry
Serving so many due to the unprecedented Texan snow

Due to the onset of the pandemic, I thought that last year’s Lent was the only unprecedented liturgical season that I would experience in my lifetime, but I was wrong. 

I live in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the week of Ash Wednesday the southern states experienced an unexpected snow and ice storm. Due to rolling blackouts and a subsequent water boil, many families and individuals were without power, water and heat for several days. 

Ash Wednesday services and my parish’s annual fish fry were cancelled because of the unsafe driving conditions. Memories of event cancellations and stay-at-home orders came back to mind; I immediately felt disheartened. 

But that Friday, my parish was among the only ones in our area to meet required conditions to hold the fish fry. 

As the volunteer crew gathered in the hall that we operated for the drive-thru, our pastor told us that we were not only providing food for hungry Catholics looking for a meatless meal, but also for families and individuals who may not have been able to eat a full meal that week. We were not only feeding mouths, but also feeding souls through fish and shrimp plates.    

Although I was new to this experience, I rejoiced to know that each plate I helped pack into a bag would help someone that day. The more my feet and back ached from constantly packing and waiting for orders until 9pm, the more I thought of the people who were impacted the most by this weather and those who even lost their lives. 

Suddenly, my feet and back did not matter as much. 

Inspired by my young adult group’s discussion on loving others, I saw the fish fry as my opportunity to love the other volunteers who were doing their best to keep up with customers, as well as the customers who I didn’t know or even meet. 

In 1 Corinthians 16:14, St. Paul says, “Let all that you do be done in love.” No matter where we are or how much it hurts, we can always love. I think my now fried-fish-scented shirts can attest to that.

- Thérèse Castillo, Texas


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