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Knights of Columbus gear up for fish fry season

The Rosemount Knights of Columbus Council started hosting fish frys more than 12 years ago. In the beginning, the group fried fish in turkey fryers in a tent outside the old St. Joseph Church to keep from stinking the place. Today the group cooks their famed fish in the modern well-equipped kitchen at the new church.

Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of the 40 days of Lent. Many will give up a vice or two and for Catholics, the period also means no meat on Fridays.

For the members of the Rosemount Knights of Columbus, Lent means it’s time to start frying fish. Starting March 14, the council will host its annual fish frys and it’s a dinner not to be missed.

“It’s the best fish fry around. People come from all over the Twin Cities to get it,” said Grand Knight Jim Benfante.

The council hosts three Friday fish frys during the Lenten season. This year the frys will be held March 14, March 28 and April 11.

The menu includes hand-battered cod, a potato, vegetable, dinner roll and ice cream. Benfante said one of their brother Knights acts as their fishmonger and gets quality cod for the council. Preparations for the dinners start at noon the day of and the council members hand-batter the fish and get things ready for the upcoming meal.

These days, the council cooks the fish in a modern kitchen at the new St. Joseph Church. In the beginning, things were a bit different. Fish fry co-chair Bob Sturm said they started out with a one-basket propane fryer and a couple of turkey fryers in a tent outside of the Old St. Joes, which is now the Steeple Center. They cooked the fish outside to keep the smell down.

From the humble beginnings, Strum said, a really great community event sprung. The fish frys are open to anyone who wants a good fish dinner and Strum said they tend to draw a crowd.

Strum said the events have a three-fold purpose. First, Catholics and other Christian faiths abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent in preparation for the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday. The fish frys offer people following that guideline an opportunity to share in a good meal.

Second, Sturm said the fish frys provide an opportunity of the community to gather. The dinners draw people from all faiths.

“We have a lot of fun,” said Strum.

Last, the fish frys are a fundraiser for the council. The council accepts free will offerings for the meal. He said people are usually pretty generous with their offerings.

The council supports a variety of charities and causes in the community and beyond. In the last 18 months the Knights have used the money towards Sharing and Caring Hands, 360 Communities, One Rosemount Feeding Families, the Rosemount DARE program, the American Cancer Society, the Veterans Wheel Chair Mission, Coats for Kids and more.

“It’s a pretty rewarding group to belong to. We are pretty active,” said Benfante.

The Rosemount Knights of Columbus will host their annual fish frys this Lenten season at 6 p.m. March 14, March 28 and April 11 in the social hall at St. Joseph’s Church, 13900 Biscayne Ave. W. A free will offering will be accepted.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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