Make a difference with CRS Rice Bowl this Lent

What is Rice Bowl? In short, a Rice Bowl is a simple cardboard box that allows you and your family to use your Lenten sacrifices to help those who are suffering throughout the world.

Rice Bowl is a program that teaches almsgiving -- asking children and adults to make a sacrifice each day during Lent -- give up something and then put the money you might have spent into the small Rice Bowl box. The money collected through the Rise Bowls program is used by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), an arm of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to help make a better life for families living in poverty in over 100 countries.

The Rice Bowl program was originally created 48 years ago by Catholic Relief Services to help address the hunger crisis in Africa. Today, Rice Bowl is still helping people worldwide grow enough food to raise a healthy family.

This Lent, CRS is focusing on three countries -- Kenya, Honduras, and the Philippines. Videos on the website highlight some of the types of projects they are conducting in these countries -- a fish farm in the Philippines, a solar water system in Kenya, and a 'micro watershed' in Honduras. By supporting these programs and many others, CRS offers Catholic families an opportunity to put their faith into action.

Lent is a time for us to pray, fast, and give alms, and Rice Bowl offers an easy way to help you remember to give alms.

Anyone can participate by picking up a Rice Bowl as you leave your church on the First Sunday of Lent. Once you assemble your Rice Bowl box, put it in a prominent place in your house so that it will remind you to make a donation -- maybe every time you were going to buy a Diet Coke or a treat from Dunkin Donuts. There are also numerous resources for families and parishes available at to help you prayerfully live this program throughout Lent.

The Archdiocese of Boston has ordered 46,000 Rice Bowls so far this year in preparation for this annual almsgiving program, and there is still time to order your Rice Bowls. Go to to place your order. Most parishes will collect the Rice Bowls on Palm Sunday. You can bring in your Rice Bowl or a check representing the amount you collected.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact me at