| Fasting, almsgiving prayer in a box
As Lent begins, the CRS Rice Bowl is literally popping up.
The annual program provides tools for prayer, fasting and almsgiving during Lent. Daily reflections including some this year inspired by Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si are available in both printed form in the Rice Bowl, which is usually picked up at your parish, as well as online at www.crsricebowl.org, or on apps available on Apple and Google Play.
Materials include stories of Catholic Relief Services' efforts in development in more than 100 countries, assisting with agricultural, water, health and educational programs. Also available are meat-free recipes from around the world.
People are encouraged to put money in their Rice Bowl every day, or to set a goal for their Rice Bowl giving perhaps saving what meat would have cost on those meat-free days. The Rice Bowls are typically turned in to the parish on Holy Thursday; 75 percent of the proceeds fund projects around the world, the remainder is returned to the diocese.
In the Diocese of Oakland, that money is distributed through grants to organizations that feed the hungry in the East Bay. Last December, 41 organizations, including soup kitchens and pantries, parish-based St. Vincent de Paul conferences and third-graders at All Saints School in Hayward, who made sandwiches for the homeless, received grants totaling $34,100.
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