The Holy Mackerel in Quarantine

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by Charles Hornbacher  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  March 25, 2020   

Our canon law fish is not forgotten

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I am the producer of the Holy Mackerel, a fun show we make at Church Militant during Lent to help people remember to observe no-meat Fridays. Holy Mackerel is in its sixth season this Lent, and I want to be honest with everyone: The Wuhan virus quarantine has made it impossible to finish the show by the deadline.

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Holy Mackerel (season six, episode four)

Don't fret, however! I have no intention of leaving an incomplete season on the site. The last four episodes, including the season finale on the first Friday after Lent, will be produced and then published to the site after the quarantine.

I am also in contact with The Holy Mackerel and he has informed me that he will be active online to remind people about no-meat Fridays. He has already released a video on his Facebook page. Follow him on Facebook @HolyMackerelCM

Now, for those of you who may be interested in a little history about The Holy Mackerel, allow me to tell his story. 

Holy Mackerel's first appearance on Church Militant was in 2015 during Lent. The show was exactly as I described, a fun little show to help people remember to observe no-meat Fridays. We made four episodes for season one. The next year, we made two episodes for season two.


In 2017, I became producer of the Holy Mackerel show. I decided to make one episode for each Friday of Lent, plus the first Friday after Lent. Season three was when the show really took off. Many people told us how much they liked the show and fan art was even made by children who watched. The Holy Mackerel show is a family-friendly show for people of all ages, just for the record. Parents have personally thanked me, in fact, because their kids have become more interested in their Lenten observance.

It's a fun show we make at Church Militant during Lent to help people remember to observe no-meat Fridays.

Then 2018 came along. Lent was approaching and I thought to myself, "How long can I make these gag videos where a fish-man stops people from eating meat?" We did a drive-thru gag, a fire extinguisher gag, a popping out of the fridge gag, a chase scene — to name a few. I was out of ideas. I didn't want to continue repeating the same "fish destroys meat" gag over and over and over again. 

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Holy Mackerel (season six, episode three)

So, in season four, the Holy Mackerel show evolved into a story format. Viewers were interested in how things would play out episode to episode. I did my best as a video production guy writing a story to make it not only compelling, but also to throw in some Catholic nuggets throughout the show. 

Additionally, I recall having my conscience bothered when I purchased some food for a scene using company dollars. Although many have told me not to worry about it, I still feel uncomfortable spending money donated to us because of our hard-hitting journalism on a fun, comedic show. So I decided in 2018 that I would spend my own money on all props for Holy Mackerel — including food and costumes — and that I would shoot and edit the show outside of normal work hours as much as I could. 

Season five came the next year with the introduction of Loan Shark. I spent many nights at the studio editing when everyone else had gone home. This was a part of my Lenten sacrifice — to give up my nights so our supporters could enjoy the show. 

Now here we are in season six. This season is a combination of the old gag videos and the new story format. The last few episodes will wrap up the story of the Noobies colliding with Holy Mackerel, but, unfortunately these episodes will be delayed. Who knows what changes to the story this quarantine will have on the Holy Mackerel saga?

I really hope this show brings a small, shrimp-sized sprinkle of joy to your penance-filled Lent, especially during the Wuhan virus scare. I appreciate your understanding of the delay of this season.

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