YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The calendar puts St. Patrick’s Day on the fourth Friday of Lent. Some churches are sticking to their fish fry schedule, while others aren’t.

Lent is a holy time, with 40 days of prayer and fasting leading to Easter. Catholics age 14 and older are advised by the church not to eat meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent.

Fish is allowed, which is why many parishes have fish fries.

St. Christine recognized the importance and resumed its fish fries this year. The church had 325 people on Ash Wednesday and saw the crowd grow to 600 on the second Friday of Lent.

“We had a lot of folks in our parish that wanted to come back and bring the fish fries back. A lot of people don’t want to want to come back and volunteer. A lot of people want to come back and eat,” said organizer John McNally.

This year, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, and people want to eat corned beef, a holiday classic.

The Diocese of Youngstown recognized it, and Bishop David Bonnar granted a dispensation from the obligation of abstinence from meat on March 17.

St. Michael in Canfield anticipated it and canceled its fish fry. There’s a note on the door, reminding people to come back next week.

When St. Christine set its schedule, it left this Friday open, too. It had tried a fish fry on St. Patrick’s Day years ago, and it was a struggle with everyone out celebrating.

“And so if you don’t have the volunteers, to put on an event like a fish fry is going to be difficult. So for us, it’s not a difficult decision,” McNally said.

Most other Catholic churches are keeping their fish fries going, expecting there will still be some who will want fish.

After this week, St. Christine plans two more fish fries.

“So that’ll be five fish fries for our fish fry season, and having not done it for the past three years, it’s been a good… warm-up year to get back into the swing of things,” McNally said.

St. Christine has focused on fellowship this year during its fish fries. It had to restock storage containers, paper products and food to resume them. It expects the final two fries of the year to be just as popular as the other three.