CRS Rice Bowl

As we prepare for Holy Week, please take a moment to reflect upon the meaning of Lent.  As Catholics, the spiritual pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving guide us in daily reflection in our own lives as we strive to deepen our relationship with God and neighbor – no matter where in the world that neighbor may live.  Lent is a time of personal and spiritual growth, a time to look outward and inward.  It is a journey in mercy.  It is also a journey of hope.

Although Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, the joy of its people is contagious, and their hospitality is overwhelming.  The small communities that make up the country are tightly-knit, and they support each other through difficulties like climate change, chronic hunger and malnutrition.

Aimée’s family has farmed their land for generations.  Aimée recently learned new ways to plant her vegetables, which has led to bigger harvests, meaning more food and income for her and her family.  She is also learning new ways to use her fresh produce to cook more nutritious meals for her children.  Her two-year-old son, Marela, loves the cassava and onion dish that Aimée prepares, and he eats all his food because it tastes so good.

Aimée sees that the food from her garden is helping her children grow and stay healthy.  She is proud of her hard work and can see the fruits of her labor.  She says, “What makes me happy is when I go to my garden and I see all the things that I’ve planted grow.  When I see flowers or the greens or when I see the first seeds sprouting, it’s like I’ve transferred a kind of power from my hands to the plants.  That makes me happy.”

Remember:  your change can make a change!  Donate your Lenten alms, and visit the CRS Rice Bowl site to read stories of hope from CRS’s work around the world.  These stories are examples of how your Lenten alms are helping communities find solutions to problems like hunger and malnutrition.