For Christians worldwide it is the season of Lent. During the 40 days of spiritual preparation preceding Easter it is traditional among the Catholics to abstain from eating meat on Friday. Instead, fish is served. In Bridge City that means the return of the famed Knights of Columbus fried catfish dinners on Friday.

In it’s thirteenth year the fund raiser has grown in acclaim and anticipation. To kick-off the annual event last week nearly 450 fried catfish dinners, complete with french fries, hush puppies, cole slaw and drinks were distributed to kick-off the event.

“The secret is in the recipe,” joked Jimmy Leblanc, grand master of the Bridge City Knights of Columbus. The catfish are seasoned Cajun-style and the chefs are undeniably Catholic, which Leblanc says always makes for a good meal.

A crew of Bridge City Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council volunteers and their wives scurried to fill orders. From frying pan to platter even the national food chains would have marvelled at the efficiency. None of which was done without revelry.

“The first week is usually slow,” Leblanc said, “We really didn’t expect to get such a large response so soon in the Lenten season.” If the trend continues Leblance expects the Knights to sell over 2,000 meals. Proceeds go toward several charities and helps maintain the KNights of Columbus facility.

While most Christians observe Lent in some form, Catholics in particular are instructed to refrain from food containing meat on all Fridays during the season beginning with Ash Wednesday. This year Ash Wednesday occurred on March 5. It began the 40 days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving leading up to the celebration of Easter. Simply stated, almsgiving is the sharing with others in the service of others.

The annual Knights of Columbus Lenten catfish fund raiser will continue until Friday, April 11. Orders are dine in or take out. According to Leblanc, a large portion of last Friday’s meals were purchased by local businesses and industry. There will be no fish fry on Good Friday, April 18, during Holy Week proceeding Easter.

Leblanc, a native of Bridge City, joined the nights in 1964 but his active involvement begin in the late 70’s. “We have one of the largest Knights of Columbus memberships in the area, 253 members, which is large for a community of this size,” he said. ‘It’s a good bunch of men.”

The following charities that are supported by Bridge City Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council  are Wounded Warrior Project, Catholic Youth Ministry, Support Charities, ACTS, Radio Maria, Special Olympics, Bridge City High School Project Graduation Class of 2013, Project Graduation, Hospitality House, Orange Christian Services, Oklahoma Tornado Victims Relief Fund, City of Bridge City, Knights of Charity, West Texas Firefighters and EMS, Bridge City Library, Encounter Catholic, Habitat for Humanity and Beaumont Hope Resource Center for Women.

Patrons can dine-in or take-out. The fried catfish platters are $8 each and can be purchased at the Knights of Columbus Hall on West Roundbunch next to Saint Henry Catholic Church. The KCs will also provide delivery for orders of 10 or more. For more info contact the Knights at 409.735.5725.