OCHOA: CRS Rice Bowl helps those in need through COVID-19 crisis

April 28, 2020

Lent 2020 has been different from any season we have ever experienced.

Traditionally, it has been the time to commemorate the Paschal Mystery. We increase our efforts to pray, read Scripture, meditate on the Stations of the Cross and then rejoice on Easter Sunday.

This year, however, Lent has coincided with the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus around the world. We have been led to an even deeper reflection on suffering, death and resurrection. We look to our faith for support and direction. One of the traditional practices the Church has developed has helped us participate more fully in this extraordinary season.

The Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl Lenten program ties our practice of prayer, fasting and almsgiving with the suffering people in the world, and many of us here at the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston have participated in this wonderful program year after year.

This time, through stories and videos, we had a chance to hear about the challenges facing people like Trinh from Vietnam, Yvone from Kenya and Maria Ana from Honduras. Our prayers and contributions bring relief and support to them and to so many others constantly facing hardship.

CRS Rice Bowl supports hunger and poverty alleviation around the world and in the U.S. 75% of contributions are distributed internationally, while 25% remains here to help local diocesan efforts. This support is vital, as everyone struggles with the economic impact of the pandemic, especially those most in need, living in poor countries in dire conditions.

Given the current realities of COVID-19 and that communities are unable to physically collect CRS Rice Bowls, we invite you to conclude your Lenten participation by counting the gifts you collected in your rice bowl as you reflect on your Lenten journey and experience. This year, we ask you to please send your gifts directly to the Catholic Relief Services national office online, through their toll-free telephone number or through the mail.

You may wish to symbolically conclude the CRS Rice Bowl program using our Offertory Prayer to End the Lenten Season, available at crsricebowl.org under Prayer Resources or in another way that may be meaningful to you (see sidebar).

During this unprecedented time, we look to the suffering Jesus to accept our difficulties. As His followers, we continue to find ways to reach out to help our brothers and sisters, even during “social distancing.” Participating and contributing to CRS Rice Bowl is one of those ways.

As we patiently wait for a solution to this global crisis, we look to the resurrected Jesus for hope — the hope in eternal life that He promises to us all. Easter Season Blessings!
For additional information, contact the Archdiocesan Mission Office at hochoa@archgh.org or 713-652-8231. 

Hilda Ochoa is the director of the Mission Office.

English: www.crsricebowl.org
Spanish: www.crsricebowl.org/es/

By PHONE: Call 877-435-7277 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time making sure you tell the operator that the gift is for CRS RICE BOWL.

By MAIL: Please write: “CRS Rice Bowl” in the memo line of your check and mail it to:
Catholic Relief Service
CRS Rice Bowl
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, MD 21297-0303