Sunday, February 06, 2005

A Generation of Lenten Tradition - Operation Rice Bowl Celebrates its 30th Anniversary

Operation Rice Bowl, Catholic Relief Services’ Lenten program, kicks-off today, Ash Wednesday, for millions of Catholics in the U.S. Through the support of 170 dioceses, Operation Rice Bowl has become a Lenten tradition in the Church in the United States.

Operation Rice Bowl began as a program of the Diocese of Allentown, PA in 1975, and was adopted nationally by Catholic Relief Services in 1976. Today, millions of Catholics in parishes, schools, and faith communities in every state in the United States participate in Operation Rice Bowl as a way to make a positive difference in the lives of the people around the world who struggle with hunger and poverty.

Operation Rice Bowl provides Catholics with an opportunity to live out the central themes of Lent by praying with their families and faith communities, fasting in solidarity with those who don’t have enough food, learning about the joys and challenges in the lives of our brothers and sisters around the world, and giving sacrificial contributions to assist the poor.

Annually, Operation Rice Bowl raises approximately $8 million. 75% of these proceeds come to Catholic Relief Services to help fund development projects that contribute to food security in 40 countries around the world. 25% of Operation Rice Bowl funds remain in local dioceses in the United States to fund local hunger and poverty alleviation projects.

In the Diocese of San Jose last year, $9,000 was granted to four hunger alleviation projects: The Cathedral of St. Joseph Social Ministry, Martha's Kitchen, St. Joseph's Family Center, the Lord's Table, and Loaves and Fishes.

By participating in Operation Rice Bowl in this 30th Anniversary year, Catholics in the United States join in a rich tradition, and put their faith into action by reaching out in solidarity to all members of the human family.

For more information on Operation Rice Bowl, please visit or contact Linda Batton at (408) 983-0158 or

Catholic Relief Services is the international humanitarian relief and development agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The Baltimore-based agency provides assistance to people in 99 countries and territories on the basis of need, not race, creed, or nationality.


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