No one is exactly sure how many years the Easter breakfast has been held in the old school cafeteria of St. Mary Parish, Lomira.

It’s certainly more than 30 — parishioners with grown children in their 40s can remember bringing the kids when they were just little ones eager for their turn at the lollipop tree, and one organizer estimates she has been volunteering since the early 1970s.

There have been variations in date and theme, too — for a while, it was held on Palm Sunday, and for a few years the Easter Bunny even found time in his busy schedule to make an appearance.

But what never changes is the promise of good food and good fellowship for those who make their way to the Easter breakfast, which will be held this year at 9 a.m. Sunday, April 23.

“Generations have been coming to this event,” said Ruth Mischo, a St. Mary parishioner. “It’s a feel-good event. Everyone gets to come together and jibber-jabber.”

“This is not a moneymaker, but a parish community event,” said Joan Wessing, who along with Mischo and several others forms the core group of organizers for the breakfast. “It’s never been about making hundreds of dollars; it’s been about getting the parish together.”

Ronda Weber has been volunteering at the breakfast for more than 10 years.

“My husband and I like to go out to different church events and dinners, and a lot of times they’re at bigger parishes and they’re so large. Our little church breakfast draws around 200 people — I think our peak was 270 — so we’re not such a big group, and we have a lot more time to socialize and create some community and fellowship,” she said, adding that the event is also an opportunity for ecumenical outreach. “Lomira is a small town, but there’s a Methodist church (and) a Lutheran church, and we’ve had people from all different parishes come.”

Occasions like this Easter breakfast also serve an evangelical purpose, noted Wessing, who described it as a valuable tie to parish life for some family members who may have drifted from their practice of the faith. “You hope that everyone in your family follows in the religious footsteps of their grandparents, but not everybody does — but when you see them here at the breakfast, that’s a good thing.”

The breakfast is served by a dedicated kitchen crew, with the help of volunteers from the parish’s religious education students. The menu includes breakfast bake, sausage, scrambled eggs, potatoes, French toast, bakery items, juice, milk and coffee.

Pains are taken to keep the cost of the breakfast low for families, said organizers. Adults eat for $10, kids ages 6 to 12 eat for $6 and children ages 5 and younger are admitted for free. Carry-outs are available, and the event runs until 1 p.m.

St. Mary is clustered with the nearby Sons of Zebedee Parish, consisting of St. John in Byron and St. James in Oakfield, but all Masses for the whole community will be held at the St. Mary site at 653 Milwaukee St., Lomira, on the weekend of April 22 and 23. Sunday morning Masses are at 8 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.

St. Mary Parish Hall is located at 699 Milwaukee St., Lomira.

Fr. Nathan Miniatt with volunteers from St. Mary Parish, Lomira, who have made the parish’s annual Easter breakfast a community event. This year’s breakfast will be Sunday, April 23. (Submitted photo)