Updated 3/8/10 by Robin Wheeler: Robin Wheeler is not Catholic and has questionable knowledge of the saints (at best). The namesake of the South Grand church, St. Pius V, was a 16th-century pontiff. He instilled the Feast of the Rosary and battled the Turks, which was probably pretty exhausting. The piece below refers to St. Pius X.
St. Pius, a Venetian who served as pope for 11 years in the early 20th century, was a big fan of the Eucharist. He encouraged the faithful to receive Holy Communion often.
It's only fitting, then, that the Tower Grove East church that bears his name would have a Friday fish fry line stretching through the building, out the door and halfway down the block at 6 p.m.
Not for wine and wafers, but for fried cod and beer.
Perhaps word spread from last year, when St. Pius was a stop on Steven Smith's STL Fish Fry Crew. Or the recent surge in fish-fry media coverage. Or perhaps word's finally traveled about St. Pius' spicy jalapeño tartar sauce, availability of Schlafly bottles and live Irish music.
Whatever happened, the church couldn't have predicted the swarm of people -- church members and interlopers alike -- who would cram into the snaking basement hallway and spill onto the street despite the blustery wind.
At 6:20 the message came from a church volunteer. They were out of cod.