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Akron parish supports CRS Rice Bowl

By RENEE WEBB, Globe senior reporter
(Email Renee)

AKRON – The Lenten season is a time for prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Reflecting on those three elements, Deacon Richard Port said he felt the CRS Rice Bowl would make for a good Lenten project at his parish. The deacon is the pastoral minister at St. Patrick Church in Akron.

“It’s a nice, gentle way to make better use of our Lenten sacrifices,” he said. “So often in Lent we get caught up in the giving up of the pop or candy bars, which is okay for us, but the full benefit of it comes from giving up something and replacing it with doing something good.”

Deacon Port said the concept is to take the money that may have been spent on something like candy bars and give it to a worthy cause.

CRS Rice Bowl is Catholic Relief Services’ Lenten faith-in-action program for parishes, schools and families. The program invites Catholics to live in solidarity with the poorest and most vulnerable brothers and sisters through the three Lenten pillars of praying, fasting, and almsgiving.

The rice bowls - cardboard box containers with a coin slot – were handed out to older students, families and individuals at St. Patrick’s on Ash Wednesday as the people were leaving the church. An announcement was also placed in the cluster bulletin, so they had the opportunity to take part as well.

Given that the rice bowls are physically present in the homes, Deacon Port said it can serve as a reminder to give.

“Hopefully they will put it out where they see it,” the deacon said. “It can remind us that it is not just me and my own little world – it’s a bigger church.”

Deacon Port said the rice bowls came with an informational flier that provided personal stories of those who have benefited from this project as well as Lenten reflections and ideas. They also listed the website – – where additional resources can be found.

The CRS Rice Bowl asks participants to:

• Pray to deepen our relationship with God and reflect on what type of person he calls us to be.
• Fast to remove the things that get between us and God and to live in solidarity with those in need.
• Give alms to our brothers and sisters in need, honoring Jesus’ call to serve our neighbors.

Rather than just gathering money, Deacon Port said he liked that this project offered other benefits to the individuals giving funds.

“They are doing more than just padding their own pockets, they want to build up those who give,” said the deacon, who noted the parish had previously participated in the CRS Rice Bowl project about five years ago. “This is well-used money, but a big reason for doing this is to give of ourselves. It does something to us internally and spiritually.”


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