One Friday during Lent in the 1990s I met with Jim Cooney, a fellow parishioner from St. Eugene Parish in Santa Rosa, California, for a beer and to discuss some business.

While we were sitting at the bar, the hostess emerged from the kitchen carrying a tray of cut-up sausages impaled with toothpicks. Moving along the bar she approached Jim and offered him a sample. He declined. When she asked why, he said it was because he was a Catholic and it was Lent.

Apparently familiar with some, but not all, Catholic practices during Lent, her startled reply was: “And you gave up Bratwurst?”

Paul Cormier