The Rice Bowl at the center of our Lenten table

February 21, 2013 | Lent

Are you using the CRS Rice Bowl this Lent? If not, why not? It’s one of our favorite Lenten traditions, so much so that last year when our parish didn’t make the cardboard “bowls” available at the back of our church at the start of Lent, I contacted Catholic Relief Services directly and ordered one for free. Within days I had my Rice Bowl, and all was right with our Lenten world.

For us the Rice Bowl is a fixture of Lent, a visible reminder of what we’re supposed to be doing these forty days — fasting, praying, giving. That doesn’t mean we’re always successful at saying the provided prayer every night or that we always remember to put spare change and extra money on fast days into the little slot, or that the kids love every Third World recipe we serve out, but we try, and that’s all God asks of us.

This year CRS is making it even easier for folks to participate in the program that helps bring food, clean water, education, health care programs and more to poor men, women, and children around the world. The website offers instructions and printables for making your own Rice Bowl at home, in case you didn’t get one at church. There are also links to meatless recipes from places where CRS is making a difference, complete with stories of real families whose lives are changing for the better thanks to Rice Bowl and CRS. And there are plenty of other links to stories, parish resources, and ways to continue to participate after Lent because, you know, this whole Lent thing is meant to transform us not just for forty days but for a lifetime.

If your Lent is off to a slow start, or even if it’s not, and you need something to jumpstart your plans to fast, pray, and give, click HERE now and get started. My guess is that Rice Bowl will become one of your favorite Lenten traditions too.

If you’d like to donate directly to CRS Rice Bowl, click HERE for the giving page. It’s amazing what even a small donation can do: $10 feeds a family for two weeks; $25 provides health exams for 13 children; $50 provides clean water for 500 families; and $100 provides immunizations for 157 newborns.

If you already use Rice Bowl, please leave comments below and share how you make it work in your home.

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