CRS Rice Bowl and Lent
At this time last year I wrote an article about my childhood experience of Lent and I said that, for me, Lent was all about ashes, fish sticks, the Stations of the Cross, and the Rice Bowl. Maybe that’s kind of silly, but it’s true. I still remember those greasy fish sticks that came from the freezer section of our local grocery, and I remember with fondness the Rice Bowl.
In those days the Rice Bowl was called “Operation Rice Bowl,” and I remember the excitement I had every Lent as I assembled my bowl and marveled at the fact that I could do something that would help suffering people around the world… simply by putting pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters into the cardboard bowl.
The Rice Bowl is no longer called Operation Rice Bowl. Now, it is called CRS Rice Bowl. “CRS” stands for Catholic Relief Services, which is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in 91 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. In many ways, CRS provides a way for me and you to be the hands and feet of Jesus today… for people all across the world.
CRS Rice Bowl is 39 years old this year. It is a Lenten program known for the colorful cardboard rice bowl used by generations of Catholics each Lent. Last year CRS launched a new website for its Rice Bowl and incorporated print and video media to more deeply engage families and to bring them closer to our suffering brothers and sisters around the world. One of the elements that I particularly enjoyed last year (in addition to the delicious recipes, of course!) was the videos. Through video, I was able to see and hear how my small contribution makes a vital and lasting impact on suffering peoples here and abroad. CRS’ use of media reinforced the real connections that we have with our brothers and sisters in other countries, and it opened my eyes to the beauty and insight of other cultures… many of which we here in the United States tend to look at as disadvantaged.
CRS Rice Bowl Launches New Rice Bowl App
Well, I have good news. The good work that CRS started last year with the new website, the recipes, and the videos has gotten even better this year. CRS Rice Bowl is making the leap to mobile devices this year with the introduction of its first App. The Rice Bowl App allows people to tap into a rich spiritual experience and make the 40 days of Lent a time that can change their lives while helping to get closer to a world free of hunger. Now, more than ever, CRS Rice Bowl is the simplest way to bring Lent into your life, online, offline, anytime, anywhere.
“I think the season of Lent sometimes gets away from us. We start out with good intentions, and suddenly it’s Holy Week. I’ve got the App on my phone so I can make sure no matter where I am I can take a few minutes to pray and reflect and track my progress on my sacrificial goal. For someone like me, it’s ideal.”
Pope Francis has captured the world’s attention to the plight of hunger and poverty around the world. He said, “the scandal that millions of people suffer from hunger must not paralyze us, but push each and every one of us to act: singles, families, communities, institutions, governments, to eliminate this injustice”. For people looking for a way to respond to this call, CRS Rice Bowl’s mobile app can help.
All the resources needed to make Lent a more personal experience in a relevant and convenient way are available on the CRS Rice Bowl App. Users can schedule delivery of daily reflections to their mobile device, set and track progress towards a personal Lenten goal, view simple meatless recipes to prepare on Fridays, and read or watch stories about the people whose lives have been changed through the program. The App is free and can be downloaded from the iTunes and Google Play Store or at crsricebowl.org/app.
- Prayerful reflection for each day of Lent
- Customizable tool to set Lenten sacrifice goal and track progress towards its achievement
- Meatless recipes for Fridays during Lent
- Stories and videos of people who benefit from prayers and almsgiving to CRS Rice Bowl
“I think the season of Lent sometimes gets away from us. We start out with good intentions, and suddenly it’s Holy Week. I’ve got the App on my phone so I can make sure no matter where I am I can take a few minutes to pray and reflect and track my progress on my sacrificial goal. For someone like me, it’s ideal,” said Joan Rosenhauer, CRS’ executive vice president for U.S. Operations.
CRS Rice Bowl is in its 39th year with more than 13,000 Catholic parishes and schools participating in the program. Last year CRS Rice Bowl raised more than $7 million to support CRS programs overseas, bringing sustainable solutions to fight poverty and hunger. Twenty- five percent of Rice Bowl donations remain in the diocese where they are raised to address local needs.
Meatless Recipes for Lenten Fridays Here at CatholicFoodie.com
Keep checking back here at CatholicFoodie.com this Lent. I will share recipes from CRS Rice Bowl’s Global Kitchen, and I’ll share some of my own variations on those recipes too!
My friend Fr. Leo Patalinghug of Grace Before Meals is back in the CRS Global Kitchens again, cooking up local dishes from Kenya, Guatemala, the Philippines, Malawi and Haiti. You won’t want to miss Fr. Leo’s fun and entertaining videos as he walks you through each recipe step-by-step and boosts your faith at the same time!