Alms and Almsgiving

“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

What You Give Can Change the World

Our almsgiving has the power to transform the world. During Lent, CRS Rice Bowl invites you to reflect on some of the lives that are changed through Lenten almsgiving. Read stories of hope from Madagascar, El Salvador and Timor-Leste and reflect with your family using our Lenten family calendar.

Give Lenten Alms

What is Almsgiving?

We all want to be “Good Samaritans.” When we see our sister or brother suffering, we are moved by compassion. We want to help. We are inspired to give.

Almsgiving is central to how we practice Lent. Almsgiving flows from prayer and fasting. We reflect on the needs of the world and how God is calling us to meet those needs through prayer. We make room for the needs of others—and for God’s Holy Spirit to work within us—through fasting. Through a recognition of the world’s needs and a personal commitment to act, we then give alms.

What are alms? Alms are money or goods that are given to—or other acts of charity that are performed for—those in need. Catholics look to the Catechism, which says that almsgiving is “a witness to fraternal charity” and “a work of justice pleasing to God.” (no. 2462)

Giving Alms

When we reflect on the charity of the Good Samaritan, we sometimes miss the second part of the man’s almsgiving. He leaves the innkeeper with these words—and a few coins: “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.

This Lent, almsgiving is your way to become a “Good Samaritan.” As we journey from Ash Wednesday through Holy Week to Easter, we invite you to consider CRS an innkeeper in your Lenten almsgiving.

How CRS uses Alms

For more than 45 years, Lenten alms given through CRS Rice Bowl have supported programs that prevent hunger and poverty around the world, including the countries featured in the Lenten stories of hope. Seventy-five percent of gifts help support CRS’ work in more than 100 countries. Twenty-five percent of gifts remain in each U.S. diocese where they are given to support hunger and poverty alleviation efforts in those communities. Each diocese uses this differently. Contact your local CRS Diocesan Director to find out how the local 25 percent is used in your diocese.

Give Lenten Alms