Lenten story: Joy of Learning

Rights and Responsibilities

Catholic social teaching inspires and guides how we are to live and work in the world. In this principle, Rights and Responsibilities, we remember that every person has basic rights that make life truly human. Corresponding to our rights, we all have duties and responsibilities to one another, our families and the larger society.

A good education allows us to pursue dreams—and help people in our community. Each girl’s family values education and makes sacrifices so their children can go to school.


My father works every day to support us, to provide the food that we need and to earn money to pay for school.
-Maria Ana

Maria Ana begins each morning by thanking God for a new day. After saying her prayers and taking a bath, she helps her mother make tortillas before she puts on her uniform and walks to school with her two younger brothers.

“I feel happy when I’m studying,” says Maria Ana, whose favorite subjects are math, science and physical education. In school, Maria Ana also learns about ways she and her family can stay healthy, including washing fruits and vegetables before eating them. And, Maria Ana is able to bring some of that nutritious food home with her, thanks to the CRS school lunch program.

Maria Ana is especially grateful to her father, Don Cristobal, for working hard to send her to school. “My father works every day to support us, to provide the food that we need and to earn money to pay for school.”

Trinh’s father, Vinh, is also proud of his daughter for her studies. “My lovely daughter, Trinh, is healthy, athletic and loved by her friends at school. I hope she can get into university and be a role model for her sister.”

“My parents didn’t send us to school,” Vinh says. “Now, as a parent, I want my children educated so they can contribute to our community.”

That’s why Trinh rides her bike to school everyday. Her favorite subject is English, and her favorite game is tung bung, which is played with a jump rope. In addition to traditional school subjects, a special CRS program teaches students ways to keep their families and their homes safe when typhoons hit. Trinh shares this information with her parents, and now the family is better prepared for dangerous weather. They know to take cows to a safe, high place and to put food on the top shelf during storms so it will not wash away or spoil.

“Going to school,” says Trinh, “helps us understand more.”

Just like Trinh and Maria Ana, Yvone’s family works hard to send her to school. Her grandparents believe that having an education is an advantage in life and want all of their grandchildren to have the opportunity to go to school. Her grandfather, Eliakim, sold 42 heads of cattle to pay for his children’s education.

Yvone’s grandmother, Patricia, says: “I have a dream for my children to study and to be able to do anything possible to earn a living.”



Imagine you are traveling to school with one of the girls. What time do you get up in the morning? How do you get to school? What do you see on the way?

People followed Jesus because they wanted to learn from him. His own disciples called him “teacher.” What did you learn from Jesus in the Gospel story of the loaves and the fishes?