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Ash Wednesday Fish Fry at MRPS today
MRPS photo.jpg
Volunteers worked on Tuesday to prepare the meal for the MRPS Hall’s annual Uncle Gil’s Ash Wednesday Fish Fry – which will take place at the hall, located at 133 N. Grant Street, today from 4 to 7 p.m. - photo by Photo Contributed

If you’re Catholic, your dining options on Ash Wednesday are somewhat limited.

But don’t worry – the Manteca-Ripon Pentecost Society has got you covered.

Tonight, from 4 to 7 p.m., Manteca’s oldest Portuguese social hall will host the annual Uncle Gil’s Fish Fry Dinner to coincide with the first day of lent and to keep with the Catholic tradition of not eating meat on the Christian holiday.

The MRPS Hall is located at 133 N. Grant Street, and tickets for the event can be purchased at the door for $17 for adults and $12 for children. Takeout dinners are also available.

While the annual fish fry is a tradition at the MRPS Hall, it’s also special this year because of the hall’s upcoming 100-year anniversary celebration, and the naming of Fagundes Meats and Catering Owner Frank Teixeira as the chairman of the event. Teixeira’s late uncle Gil Fagundes – the founder of Fagundes Meats – was a longtime volunteer at the annual gettogether, and his wife Regina is helping her nephew with running the event that is named in her late husband’s honor. 

“He was in involved in all of the MRPS events, but I always noticed when it came to the Ash Wednesday annual fish fry, there was an extra pep to his walk,” Teixeira said. “When I was asked to be the chairman of the fish fry with my aunt Regina – Gil’s wife – I was honored. 

“It’s truly a group effort from all of the members and the volunteers that help and that’s what makes it truly special.”

The 100th anniversary year celebration is currently underway at the hall and will culminate later this year with the annual festa celebration – which honors the miracle of Portugal’s Queen Isabel who defied her husband by sneaking bread to feed peasants, and when he called her to task for her offense opened her robes to reveal beautiful roses. 

Known as the Holy Ghost Celebration, the MRPS Hall was actually founded to bring the celebration to Manteca, which has long been a Portuguese settlement, and the event draws thousands of people to the hall to partake in the traditional dish of sopas. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.