DETROIT (WWJ) – With Many Metro Detroit Catholic Churches closing left and right, one Downtown Detroit Church is thriving — all thanks to its parish.

And as WWJ’s Kathryn Larson discovered, a traditional meal during Lent is bringing the flock back to the fold in record numbers.

On a rainy Friday night, fish isn’t just holy — it’s hot.

“You can get baked cod and baked potatoes and have a very healthy meal,” said Volunteer Coordinator Ed Bourke. “You can go to the extreme and have our beer-battered cod with french fried or our hearty macaroni and cheese.”

Bourke said all their food is made from scratch at the Sweetest Heart of Mary Church — even the beer batter.

“We mix it with Stroh’s beer from home and it’s a real beer batter,” he said.

And they do more than just fish. Besides fried pickles and pierogies, they’ve got everything from early bird deals to nightly specials, like their famous fish tacos.

Bourke said their fish fry is done restaurant style, where meals are delivered to patrons. And their good food, with faith recipe, is working.

“We are about 60 percent up from what we did last year already this year,” he said.

The church hosts the fish fry every Friday of Lent from 3 until 8 p.m. The Sweetest Heart of Mary Church is located at 4440 Russell Street in Detroit. For more information, visit

Comments (4)
  1. Jim says:

    Nothing fishy about a fine little story by reporter Kathryn Larson.

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