St. Stephen’s Church in Wilkes-Barre celebrates Shrove Tuesday

i Feb 28th 2017

By Melanie Mizenko , Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

WB church marks Shrove Tuesday with breakfast staple

WILKES-BARRE — Breakfast for dinner?

Christine Rock doesn’t mind one bit.

Rock and her daughter, Hope, both of Wilkes-Barre, enjoyed pancakes for dinner as part of a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper at St. Stephen’s Church in Wilkes-Barre.

The Rocks came because of a friend who is involved with the parish.

“I might have made them at home,” she said. “This way, I don’t have to cook.”

Though cereal is 5-year-old Hope’s favorite breakfast dish, she was enjoying her pancakes with syrup.

“I don’t like blueberries though,” the youngster noted.

“She likes it with whipped cream too,” Rock added

Shrove Tuesday is the British version of Mardi Gras, the Rev. Brian Pavlac said. He said Christian churches around the area put on the dinner annually as a way to prepare for Ash Wednesday — the beginning of Lent, or 40 days of sacrifice.

Pavlac, the priest-in-charge at the church, said the dinner is usually more somber than a typical Mardi Gras celebration.

“No crazy beads, just pancakes,” he said before explaining there were also sides — including sausage and fruit — with the pancakes.

Pavlac explained the word “shrove” comes from a Christian word “to hear confession.” While the dinner at the parish hall was informal, Pavlac said he could and would hear confessions should people ask.

But he was expecting most of those in the room would rather socialize.

In the kitchen, Dave Daris was flipping flapjacks.

“How many am I going to make?” Daris asked. “Thousands.”

Nancy Aggden and her husband, Carl, of Hazle Township, were enjoying pancakes at the first table in front of the band. Nancy had blueberries in her pancakes, but Carl had blueberries and strawberries on top of his silver dollar-sized sweet dinner.

“I didn’t want to double dip,” he joked.

The best part of the evening for Nancy was seeing Carl and several of the men, including Pavlac, in aprons.

Traditionally, men “give the ladies a break” during the dinner.

“The men make the pancakes,” she pointed out, “and clean up.”

Pavlac said this year was special as jazz music played through the room. A parishioner of St. Stephen’s was part of the Dixieland Mardi Gras Combo and asked if he could bring the band.

“It makes me feel like I’m in New Orleans,” Nancy Agdden said.