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placeholder As Lent begins, Rice Bowl needs filling

Tribute to Catholic Charities’ board chair to fund SafetyNet

Youth rally set for April 21 with easy BART access

Gifts of the Magi open diocese’s Golden Jubilee year

Workshop offers a sampler for selecting wedding music

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Black History Month events

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Assumption athlete earns Marty Mart scholarship

placeholder February 6, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
As Lent begins,
Rice Bowl
needs filling

As Catholics throughout the world begin their Lenten journey on Feb. 22, many in the United States will begin theirs in the company of a Catholic Relief Services program that will not only introduce them to people in need in the developing world, but also offer the opportunity to assist them.

A cardboard rice bowl — some assembly required — and a daily reflection calendar become part of a household for Lent, offering stories about people in other parts of the world; recipes to sample their cuisine; and activities and prayers to strength their journeys.

There are concrete actions one might be asked to put in the Rice Bowl, a dime for each water faucet in your house. Sending parents and children out to count water faucets might open up a conversation of places in the world where water faucets are not in homes.

Simple, meatless meals can be prepared — the suggestion is to place in the Rice Bowl the difference between the cost of that meal and what would have been the family’s regular meal. This year’s campaign will feature meals from Vietnam, Zambia, India, Madagascar and El Salvador.

Nearly 13,000 faith communities in the United States make Operation Rice Bowl a part of their Lenten experiences.

The Rice Bowl contributions are collected, typically on Holy Thursday. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds are sent overseas; 25 percent remains in the U.S. for local food programs.

In the Diocese of Oakland, $15,000 was distributed to 18 agencies that fight hunger in Alameda and Contra counties — including 10 parish-based St. Vincent de Paul conferences.

For the Day-Palermo Family, parishioners at St. Columba in Oakland, Lent is a time of learning. Operation Rice Bowl helps the family members live their faith.

“We have the calendar,” said Maureen Day, a veteran of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps who is a doctoral student at the Graduate Theological Union. “We can focus on the person,” she said, and how their lives are improved by Catholic Relief Services.

“We always make the recipe on Friday,” Day said. Not only does it help them teach the kids about the country, but also about the importance of helping others.

“It’s great for any age,” said the mother of Veronica, 6, and David, 2. “Even the youngest kids can relate to the calendar,” she said.

The cardboard rice bowl itself sits at the dining room table, where the family gathers nightly at mealtime. They include the country the Rice Bowl materials focus on in their prayers.

The family also chooses a Lenten sacrifice, such as giving up sweets or salty snacks.

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