“The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’” — Luke 10:35
When we reflect on the story of the Good Samaritan, we may often miss this last line, so caught up are we in the great act of service done on the side of the road. But it’s important to note the Good Samaritan’s closing words: “Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.” He gives freely and wholeheartedly in equal measure to the need of the one whom he serves. No reservations; no disclaimers.
At the beginning of Lent, we reflected on these words of Isaiah: “Is this not, rather, the fasting that I choose…” We learn that God desires that our fasting free the oppressed, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless — our fasting should be a true encounter with and pouring forth of God’s mercy.
Now, as we reflect on what our Lenten journey has meant for us, we connect these pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving as we strive to live in true global solidarity. We hear the words of Isaiah and we see the example of the Good Samaritan. How can we ensure that what we gave up for Lent will lift up those in most need? As we look back on these 40 days, we commit ourselves to discovering how what we gave up for Lent can change lives.
Almsgiving is one of the spiritual pillars of Lent. In this video, Catholic author and deacon Ron Hansen shares his reflections on why almsgiving is such an important component of our Lenten journey.
Turning in CRS Rice Bowls
Figuring out how to wrap up your faith community’s Lenten journey can be intimidating — but fear not! There are a few simple, concrete things you can do to ensure that the end of Lent is just as successful as the beginning. First, read these five simple steps. Then, watch the video below.
Be on the lookout for a mid-Lent mailing. In it, you’ll receive a poster to use to inform your community how CRS Rice Bowls will be returned in your institution. Some parishes make use of our Envelope Template to facilitate collections. You may want to consider using this Offertory Prayer to End the Lenten Journey at Mass or at a prayer service towards the end of the season to ritualize the turning in of CRS Rice Bowls.
Need more tools to encourage and inspire CRS Rice Bowl participants across the Lenten finish line?
- Ask your diocesan office to adapt this Bishop’s Thank You Letter to distribute in your faith community. (Also available in Spanish.)
- Give out this Certificate of Appreciation to show your gratitude to those individuals or groups that brought Lent to life. (Also available in Spanish.)
- Place a thank you ad in your diocesan paper or newsletter. Contact Stevie Coppola (Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org) to get this ready-made ad sized to your specific needs. (English & Spanish)
How do you transmit your Lenten alms to CRS? That depends on each diocese. First, check with your local CRS Diocesan Director. He or she will be able to give concrete instructions. Based on what you learn, you’ll do one of the following:
- Give online.
- Mail a check to your local diocesan office.
- Mail a check to:
Catholic Relief Services ATTN: CRS Rice Bowl P.O. Box 17090 Baltimore, MD 21297-0303
Don’t forget: Thank your community! Display the Thank You Poster you receive at the end of Lent to thank your community for their Lenten sacrifices. And write about your Lenten journey in your bulletin!