OLL Welcomes Visitor From Ghana
On Friday, February 23 and again on Sunday, February 25, Our Lady of the Lake was blessed to have in our presence Mr. Thomas Awiapo from Ghana. Mr Awiapo is on a 10-week tour of the United States in support of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), especially the Rice Bowl campaign for Lent, which began at OLL on Ash Wednesday.
Mr. Awiapo shared his story with the OLL school students in Grades 6 – 8 on Friday, February 23, as well as the students in grades K-8 in PSR on Sunday morning. His is a story of survival which includes the painful loss of his two younger brothers through sickness and death, while also being abandoned by an older brother whom he has not seen in 40 years. However, due to the food provided for students at a CRS-sponsored school, Mr. Awiapo was eventually able to go from the brink of sickness and death due to hunger to achieve his Masters Degree in Public Administration. The students also had ample time to ask him questions about his family, his country and his experience of living and traveling in the USA. In addition to the students, Mr. Awiapo addressed the parish congregation on Sunday morning and met with interested parishioners after Mass as well.
Started as an ecumenical effort in the diocese of Allentown, PA, in 1975, CRS Rice Bowl soon spread across the country as it called on Catholics to perform a simple act of Lenten sacrifice – substitute a low-cost meatless meal for more expensive dining once a week during Lent and put the money saved in a cardboard rice bowl.
Funds collected in the rice bowls, which are turned in at the end of Lent, are distributed both around the world and in local communities to combat hunger – 75 percent of every donation goes to CRS programming in targeted countries worldwide while 25 percent remains in the local diocese from which the donation came, supporting initiatives that help alleviate poverty.
Shawn Witmer, Pastoral Associate