Kathy Dubel considers Operation Rice Bowl special because it combines the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving while also educating participants about the needs of other countries.
"It’s really a faith-formation program because it’s so rooted in Catholic teaching. It really brings together what we hold dear during Lent," said Dubel, who coordinates the Diocese of Rochester’s ORB program.
Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of ORB, a CRS campaign conducted each year at this time. It is one of two special Lenten initiatives involving Catholic Relief Services; the other is the annual collection for CRS, which will take place in parishes of this diocese March 18.
Operation Rice Bowl involves parishioners of all ages in fundraising, praying and fasting. Seventy-five percent of ORB proceeds go to help CRS carry out global development and hunger-related projects; the remaining 25 percent remain in local communities.
Dubel said the international portion of this year’s ORB campaign will be used to help people in Madagascar, Zambia, Vietnam, El Salvador and India; such priorities as water and sanitation, maternal/child health, microfinance, education/literacy and job training also will be supported. She reported that parishes and schools raised $67,544 for ORB during Lent 2011, of which $16,886 stayed in the local area for distribution to hunger-relief organizations in all 12 counties of the diocese.
Meanwhile, the annual Catholic Relief Services Collection is mandated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to be conducted in parishes on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Proceeds help support several Catholic organizations dedicated to international social ministry. In addition to CRS, these entities are USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development; USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services; Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc.; and the Holy Father’s Relief Fund.