Stuff Catholics Like: Fish on Fridays

South Georgia Fish Fry

Image by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr

Yum, it’s Lent!

I don’t know at what point having fish became equal to being deprived, but it’s not been during my lifetime. In fact, considering that for the past ten years, I haven’t been eating a lot of meat (too darn expensive, except the occasional hamburger), eating fish, especially seafood, is quite the luxury.

Not, of course, tuna fish. Yes, I suppose a tuna salad sandwich isn’t something I’d consider a luxury item. But when my daughter and I were recently in Grand Rapids, Michigan to see Lady Gaga, we went out to a very nice sushi restaurant, Marado Sushi. Love me some nice Yellowtail. It’s hard to believe that going out for sushi could ever be considered a penitential experience. (Well, maybe. Lenten CrossIt could just be bad sushi.)

So you’ve got your raw fish and seafood. But let’s not forget the cooked! Consider the humble fish fry. After having lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for over ten years, I’ve seen Friday night fish fries raised to something just short of a religious experience themselves. Serb Hall even installed it’s own drive thru window! The cars lined up for a block, even with their amazingly fast service. Now that we’re here in northeastern Indiana, my local parish doesn’t, unfortunately, have a weekly fish fry, even during the Fridays of Lent, our local Knights of Columbus do quite a fine job. All you can eat, even!

Shrimp ScampiAnd this is just fish. Don’t even get me started on crab cakes, salmon patties, and shrimp scampi! Yum, yum, yum.

No meat on Fridays, huh? Suits me just fine.

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All A-Gaga

Well, we did it, so I guess that means we’re not, what, “virgins” anymore. (Does anybody really use that word?) Once you’ve done it, you really can’t go back to the place you were before. Things aren’t the same. You feel … different. Changed. You want to tell everyone, maybe even people you don’t know. And yet you can’t seem to find the words that express your … hmmm, your experience? Your feelings? I don’t k now.

But I do know one thing: I will never be the same. Because, dear reader, we went to see Lady Gaga! Tuesday, 1 March 2011, Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

What to say? It’s not like any concert I’ve been to, and I’ve been to many. It’s not like a Broadway musical, which I’ve also seen. It’s more of a combination—Quite an astonishing combination! Costumes and dancers and monsters, oh, my!

And what a well-behaved crowd! I’m pretty sure every sexual orientation was represented,

probably even some I’m unfamiliar with! Women dressed as men, men dressed as women—someone even dressed like a unicorn! Young people, old people. All sorts were mingling in a sort of fantastical soup of self-expression. And all this in really cold weather! Both Sophia and I had hoped to dress up, but felt that the chilly weather and uncertainty of how long we’d have to wait to get into the arena precluded wearing anything other


than pants.

But that clearly didn’t stop some people. Witness the delightful young man in the Beanie Baby jeans (right). He was just great! And after the concert we ran across a couple of other young men who were happy to pose with Sophia (left).

I have never been to any concert, at venue, that seemed so drug free. That was

great. Although, frankly, I can’t imagine why you’d want any alteration in this experience, since it was already so mind-blowing that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss a single second.

From the minute she appeared to the closing curtain, the show ran like a well-oiled machine. Even the costume and set changes were accomplished in an astonishingly short time span.  She is really amazing!


Stuff Catholics Like: Sunday Mass


Cover of

Cover of Stuff Christians Like

Lately, I’ve been amused by a blog called Stuff Christians Like, (now a book, pictured at right) which is written by a guy, one Jonathan Acuff, who is just completely unashamed in his criticism of all things Christian, while still remaining a good Christian. I have to respect this guy. It’s easy to poke fun at things you don’t like. But it’s even easier, not to mention more fun, to poke fun at things you really love! So, believing imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, I present to you the first installment of Stuff Catholics Like! (Yes, yes, I know. If you look around, there’s actually a blog that’s already entitled that. But it’s not mine, and I’m not pretending it is. Maybe it will be someday. Maybe not. Maybe I can guest write for them…Who knows.


There are many reasons why it’s totally great to be a Catholic, but I’m not getting into apologetics here. This is not the venue for complex theology and discussions thereof. And lest you think I don’t know what I’m talking about when I make some these comparisons, I’ve done the Protestant thingy, so I know. I was a church musician for the Missionary Church for eight years, and have played and sung with various other denominations. (I’ve done a lot of things, religious and otherwise…so, believe me when I say, “I know.”)

Onward and upward!

Probably one of the greatest things that Catholics like is Sunday Mass. You go to Mass on Sunday for basically one hour, and you don’t have to do anything else. It’s a one shot deal. Period. There’s no Morning service, with an Evening service thrown in. (I went to a church once where you could tell the “holiness quotient” by whether the people at the Sunday evening service had already been there for the Sunday morning service. (All these places will remain nameless, for their own protection.)

Catholic Cathedral in Tbilisi during the visit...

Image via Wikipedia


So you go once! Yay! In fact, even though you’re allowed to go to Communion more than once on Sunday, you have to go within the context of a Sunday Mass. Generally speaking, the priest who does more than one Sunday Mass repeats his sermon at each one, so it’s not like going more than once in a day is getting you additional “content.”  (I am a pianist for a Spanish Mass and often attend more than once on any given Sunday. One Mass in English and then the one I play for in Spanish. There are some cultural adaptations, but it’s basically the same homily.) So there’s none of this Sunday morning service, then the Sunday night service, and then if you’re good, the Wednesday night service! That’s a whole other kettle of fish, and not fish you’re going to have to eat on Friday, either. (That’s another blog entry there…it sure is.) Of course, you can go to Mass every day if you’re good and holy, and that’s a very good and admirable thing to do, but it’s not a requirement by any means. So there’s very little of this, “Well, he’s/she’s here every time the doors open,” mentality. Even if you were, hardly anyone else would notice, because they’re probably only there on Sundays!

Or maybe they showed up Saturday night. Let’s not forget Saturday night. ‘Cause that rocks! You can get in an early Saturday night Mass (which totally covers you for Sunday) let’s say around 5:00 p.m., and still hit all the clubs without the bother of having to go to church hung over on Sunday morning! Oh, yeah!

Sunday Mass–what’s not to love?!