Okay, so I was able to snag a “Little Black Book” at 4 pm mass at St. Ferdinand’s tonight. The Little Black Book is a collection of Lenten reflections and six minute meditations for each day leading up to Easter. Tom and I went early so I could look for it in the back of church, and I had about 20 minutes to read the daily thoughts from this past week and get caught up through today. Today’s reflection was called “Operation Rice Bowl” and it made me smile, because it reminded me of what I had planned for Lent.
The history dates back to 1975 when various Pennsylvania churchmen (a ecumenical effort that included Catholic, Jewish, Presbyterian, Episcopal and Lutheran participation) got together and created the rice bowl program to respond to a severe drought in Africa. And then again in 1976, Catholic Relief Services sponsored Operation Rice Bowl for the Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia.
Since then, Operation Rice Bowl is an annual Lenten practice where parishioners place a cardboard container in their homes, and the money saved because of their fasting and the things they give up for Lent is put into the “rice bowl.” At the end of Lent, the rice bowl filled with the family’s offerings is brought to Mass, and the money is used for hunger relief in the local diocese and development projects in poor nations.
So I guess I need to change the name of my swearing jar to the rice bowl! I may not be participating in parish-wide program, but none-the-less I think I’ll add my dollars to my “rice bowl.” Which, by the way, has $9 in it today.