March 7, 2023 // World News
CRS Rice Bowl 2023 — A Journey to Three Countries
BALTIMORE — Since 1975, CRS Rice Bowl, the brightly colored cardboard almsgiving box that is a familiar annual Lenten sight in parishes across the country, has invited Catholics to pray, fast, and give in solidarity with the world’s poor.
This year, the CRS Rice Bowl Stories of Hope take us to Honduras, Kenya, and the Philippines, where we’ll learn how people are overcoming the causes of hunger and adapting to climate change. As you journey with us during Lent, remember that through prayer, God invites us to slow down in the silence and look for Him around us — in nature and in people who need us most. Our fasting is an act of solidarity with people who are hungry — and it helps us feel a small part of what they are living day by day. It is in this spirit that our almsgiving is an act of love for God and neighbor. Through giving, there is no limit to what we can achieve together to serve people impacted by climate.
A Story of Hope from Honduras
Rony lives with his wife Reina and their two sons, Emilson, age 14, and Maynor, age 9, about two hours from Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.
Like many children in Latin America, Emilson loves to play soccer. And when his parents asked him about his future, he didn’t hesitate to say he wanted to become a professional soccer player.
“We have to make an effort,” Reina told Rony. “I know that with God’s help, everything can be done.”
So, despite the distance and the expenses involved, Rony took a leap of faith and enrolled Emilson in a soccer academy in Tegucigalpa.
Rony is a farmer who grows corn, beans, and bananas. But it’s hard to get good harvests working in the Dry Corridor — an area impacted by high temperatures and lack of rain. Droughts have become more frequent and storms stronger. “Nowadays, we don’t know when winter starts or when it ends,” explains Rony.
Determined to support Emilson’s dream, Rony participated in a Catholic Relief Services project, which helped him repair an old reservoir and install a low-cost irrigation system with pipes and hoses that uses very little water to grow his crops. He also learned to let the harvest residue rot — instead of burning the land — because the residue becomes the soil’s fertilizer.
Thanks to the watering system and his new skills, Rony can harvest his crops even if it doesn’t rain. His produce and income are now enough to feed his family, pay the soccer academy’s fees, and help people in his community.
Today, Rony has even become an advocate for caring for the environment. And he feels it is his responsibility that others do too.
“I have learned a lot about how to take care of, value, and protect the natural resources that the Lord has given us, such as water,” he says. “That’s the best way to guarantee the lives of our families and the animals.”
For more information about the Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl program and to donate, visit crsricebowl.org.
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