Why Saint Adalbert/Saint James Cancelled This Year’s Lenten Fish Fry
The Basilica of Saint Adalbert and Saint James Church have annually hosted a popular Lenten fish fry, but this year the fish fry has been cancelled and there are no immediate plans for its return.
I contacted John R. Mitus, Business Manager at Basilica of Saint Adalbert and Saint James Church, to find out more about the cancellation. He explained that this year's fish fry was originally scheduled to be the last one due to development projects scheduled to start this summer on the old St. James School property. The fish fries have been held next to the school building at the St. James Family Center.
Three years ago, the St. James School building was sold. The organization that bought the school building was not able to obtain enough funding to develop the property. This allowed the church to continue using the old St. James School property for parking during fish fries.
Recently, the organization that bought the school building secured the funding needed to start development. That project would significantly reduce available parking for future fish fries. Once the church became aware that the work would begin this summer it became very likely that there would be no more fish fries starting in 2018 due to lack of available parking.
In a letter dated February 21, 2017, Rev. Msgr. R. Louis Stasker explained why the cancellation was moved up to this year. He says that the catering service the church was using was behind in rent and the church asked them to leave. A new supervisor to run the fish fry was brought in. Those who were set to run the fish fry were "stunned by the conditions of the rooms." The church is hiring a disaster response company to clean the rooms. They also discovered that new equipment was needed and it would cost $10,000 - $12,000 to get the fish fry up and running.
Since the cost of necessary equipment is so high, the fish fry is not a major fundraiser and 2017 was likely going to be the final year for the fish fry since parking was being eliminated, the decision was made to end the fish fry this year.