In my work with Catholic Relief Services, I am involved in so many different countries, in so many different aspects of helping the poor. Every day we work with people who are facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles. But they are not insurmountable when you help carve steps into them. At CRS, we know that, together, we can surmount these obstacles one step at a time.
While we often respond to immediate needs—shelter and water after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, for example—our focus is always on the future, on turning relief into recovery and rebuilding.
When I focus on the future, my thoughts naturally turn to children. Because no matter the country or the culture or the economy, aren’t children always the future?
I think of this in this season of Lent, the season of sacrifice. A theme that runs throughout God’s family is the sacrifice that parents everywhere make for their children.
And so, while we at CRS are involved with many aspects of helping the poor, it always comes back to the children, to those taking their initial steps into life.
Take our work with HIV and AIDS. In its worst years, the pandemic produced a generation of orphans. Without their parents, these children were often left in desperate circumstances, subject to neglect, abuse and exploitation.
Working with the AIDSRelief Consortium, CRS helped save hundreds of thousands of lives. Through treatment and prevention, we helped prevent another generation of orphans. And we helped people infected with the virus give birth to children free of HIV.
But we also worked with vulnerable children who had been affected by the disease. We protected them, fed them, educated them, sheltered them and, at times, supported them to keep families together.
Now, as we hand our AIDSRelief work over to our local partners, we leave behind an infrastructure that will continue to support, nourish and protect these children as they grow into the future.
Lent is the season when CRS reaches out to the Catholic Community in the United States through CRS Rice Bowl. Millions of children will put their coins in our collection boxes, coins they have earned through working or saving.
CRS Rice Bowl provides an opportunity for families to gather and talk, to explore the meaning of Lent. It provides a way for children to understand that the sacrifice of this season is not a matter of pain or denial, but an act of joy. It’s the feeling that comes when you understand that God is bountiful and that it is through us that his generosity finds expression.
Parents have learned, generation after generation, that sacrificing for their children gives them uncountable rewards. And in this Lenten season, we can hope our children learn that sacrificing for all of God’s children provides such rewards.
For if our children learn those lessons, if they become engaged in the mission of the Gospel, then the future is indeed bright.
Just as the CRS Rice Bowl is filled one coin at a time, the obstacles that the poor face are overcome one step at a time. Each coin helps carve one of those steps. God always shows us the way.
May blessings overflow,
Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo
President & CEO
2 Responses to “Build Steps to the Future With CRS Rice Bowl”
Leave a Comment
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.