Success For The Poor
The sound of whooping and hollering you hear is the happy dance at Ss. Robert and William Parish being done by Fr. John Betters (Pastor), Fr. Scott Goodfellow (Parochial Vicar), and the members of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Parish Ambassadors. The occasion is the result of our CRS Rice Bowl collection thus far:10 times more than the previous year, and still counting!
Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. The CRS Rice Bowl is an annual Lenten collection. Parishioners receive their Rice Bowl from the church at the beginning of Lent. They then make daily or weekly contributions to the Rice Bowl throughout the 40 days of Lent and finally return their filled Rice Bowl to the church during Easter. Our CRS Ambassadors are a newly formed group of five parishioners committed to helping the priests and staff at Ss. Robert & William make events like the Lenten Rice Bowl a huge success!
Using the tools offered by the CRS Rice Bowl website, our CRS Ambassadors team used bulletin inserts, Mass petitions, and personal reflections offered by each ambassador on the work of CRS. A Meatless Meal, featuring foods from five countries, using Stories of Hope videos, and modeling the Solidarity Walk, was also offered.
But it is really our Ss. Robert and William School, its staff and students, who became true advocates for the disadvantaged, not only overseas, but in our community. The faculty religion committee dedicated themselves this year to the Rice Bowl project. Through their leadership the iPad, iPhone, “I”-generation became immersed in the difficulties of life in the countries CRS serves. Twenty minutes of silence was observed during lunch each Monday, with that time reserved for Stories of Hope videos and readings, followed by silent reflection. The children were encouraged to participate with offerings to the Rice Bowl, and to collect non-perishables for our local Hunger Center. The lunchroom featured the poster of a child sitting at an empty table, representing all the Stories of Hope children. Each donated item earned a “can” on the table. The results were incredible! Literally hundreds of items were donated to the Euclid Hunger Center.
In addition, the students wrote essays on what it meant to them to hear the stories and to be advocates.
The culmination of this Lenten lesson in compassion, advocacy, and almsgiving ended with two children from each grade level bringing their offerings to the altar during the final Mass before Easter break. Our young and strong Fr. Scott could not lift the offerings basket! The school children contributed a total of $1,456.01!
As CRS Parish Ambassadors, we know there is much work yet to be done, but we feel inroads have been made in our parish in promoting awareness and support of CRS.
Director of Development & Discipleship, Ss. Robert & William Parish; President of the Euclid Hunger Center