Dear Friends in Christ,
God invites each one of us to a loving relationship with Him. During the holy season of Lent,
we focus in an intentional way on turning away from sin and toward God to grow in this
relationship. The Lenten pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving help us do this. A simple way
to practice these pillars is through the Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Rice Bowl program. This
small cardboard box holds many opportunities.
Participating in the Rice Bowl program enables young Catholics to see how small change can
add up to become a worthy gift. It provides families the opportunity to create meals from
countries whose people benefit from Catholic Relief Services’ programs. It provides all of us
with an opportunity to reflect on the needs of our sisters and brothers and how we can respond
in love. But most importantly, with the support of families like yours, other families will receive
an opportunity to reach their God-given potential when they receive the nutritious food needed
The Rice Bowl program also has a local impact. Twenty-five percent of contributions collected
through the program remain here in our diocese. Last year’s CRS Rice Bowl contributions
helped four local organizations receive funding for food and poverty alleviation programs,
including St. Ann’s Bread of Life Food Pantry in Baldwin, Community Food Club of Grand
Rapids, the St. Gianna Baby Pantry in Muskegon through Catholic Charities West Michigan,
and St. Mary’s Caritas Food Pantry in Custer.
The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the financial situation of many. Thank you for
your Lenten sacrifices that allow CRS Rice Bowl to reach people in need. Visit crsricebowl.org to
find out more. Together, we can respond to Christ’s call to help those in need of food and
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak
Bishop of Grand Rapids
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