Resources for Lent – Catholic Relief Services

Encounter Lent.  We are called to build a culture of encounter.

Jesus made that clear from the way he lived, the message he preached. Pope Francis makes that clear by his own daily example. And we have a host of holy men and women who have come before us, who have gone to the margins of society so that every member of our human family might know the love of God.

Now, it’s our turn. With the spiritual pillars of Lent at our disposal, we set out on a 40-day journey, a journey of encounter with ourselves, our neighbors and our God.

  • Through prayer, we encounter Christ, present in the faces of every member of our human family, so often still walking that long road to Calvary.
  • Through fasting, we encounter our own obstacles, those things about ourselves that prevent us from loving God and neighbor.
  • Through almsgiving, we encounter our brothers and sisters around the world, asking what we can give up so that others might have life to the fullest.

Lent is our time to encounter, to cultivate a spirit of global solidarity. CRS Rice Bowl is our tool, Catholic Relief Services‘ Lenten faith-in-action program for families and faith communities, a vehicle through which the stories of communities around the world can be shared, an invitation through which our prayers and Lenten sacrifices can change lives.

Through CRS Rice Bowl, we hear stories from our brothers and sisters in need worldwide, and devote our Lenten prayers, fasting and gifts to change the lives of the poor. Each day of Lent, individuals are invited to use the Lenten Calendar—included with every CRS Rice Bowl—to guide their Lenten almsgiving. These daily almsgiving activities—for example, give 25 cents for every faucet found in your home—help families reflect on the realities of our brothers and sisters around the world and how they can be in solidarity during the Lenten season.

How will you contribute to the culture of encounter this Lent?  To learn more, click the video link below:

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Prayer Resources for Students and Families

Bring prayer into your classroom in a special way this Lent. Use this 10-Minute Prayerful Introduction to kick off your Lenten season, and don’t forget to close this holy time with this Prayer Service to End Lent.

Explore these other tools for Lenten reflection, and invite your students to prayer while they learn about the realities faced by their brothers and sisters around the world.

Rice Bowl Resources for Educators. Everything your classroom needs to encounter Lent. Whether you’re an elementary school teacher, high school teacher, youth minister or catechist, you have a role in educating young people in the faith-and CRS Rice Bowl has resources to help.

Youth in Solidarity Grades 9-12.  Our Youth in Solidarity Resource — detailed below — is what you need in your classroom or youth group this Lent. The destination is up to you, but no matter where you take your class or group this Lent, your youth will have the opportunity to, as Pope Francis encourages us, encounter a brother or sister who lives a life very different from their own. Select from any of this year’s featured CRS Rice Bowl countries to download modules full of reflections, activities and exercises that will challenge youth to engage more fully in global solidarity. Ready to get started?

Youth in Solidarity Reflections

First, download this Lesson Plan Template to organize your planning. Then, download this list of Catholic social teaching principles to guide your discussion.

India: Option for the Poor The Story Prayers & Activities The Video
Zambia: Sacredness & Dignity of the Human Person The Story Prayers & Activities The Video
El Salvador: Dignity of Work The Story Prayers & Activities The Video
Mexico: Call to Community The Story Prayers & Activities The Video
Ethiopia: Care for Creation The Story Prayers & Activities
Diocese of Honolulu: Solidarity The Story Prayers & Activities The Video
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Or, download all the activities here.

Wondering how to get your whole high school community involved? Here are 6 steps to integrate CRS Rice Bowl into your high school’s Lenten journey.

Additional Activities

Go further this Lent with these additional reflection resources:

  • Reflexiones para la Pastoral Juvenil Hispana: Available only in Spanish and appropriate for individuals ages 14 – 35, use this resource to accompany your ministry members through faith formation modules that offer activities, reflections on scripture and prayers.
  • Akwaaba! Songs of Peace and Solidarity:>In partnership with Oregon Catholic Press (OCP), CRS is excited to offer Akwaaba! Songs of Peace and Solidarity, a CD by seven Spirit & Song/OCP composers who traveled with CRS to Ghana. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the CD and MP3 album will support the work of CRS around the world.
  • Community Reflections: Available only in English, and appropriate for individuals ages 18 – 40, gather small faith-sharing groups to prayerfully consider how they use the season of Lent to encounter themselves, their neighbors and their God.
  • Stations of the Cross Digital Retreats: Spend 1-minute reflecting on how Jesus’ road to Calvary continues today in the daily lives of our brothers and sisters around the world.

Want more ways to bring global solidarity into your classroom? Check out the CRS Global High School program and our CRS Education page.

Additional Activities

Go further this Lent with these additional reflection resources:

  • Reflexiones para la Pastoral Juvenil Hispana: Available only in Spanish and appropriate for individuals ages 14 – 35, use this resource to accompany your ministry members through faith formation modules that offer activities, reflections on scripture and prayers.
  • Akwaaba! Songs of Peace and Solidarity:>In partnership with Oregon Catholic Press (OCP), CRS is excited to offer Akwaaba! Songs of Peace and Solidarity, a CD by seven Spirit & Song/OCP composers who traveled with CRS to Ghana. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the CD and MP3 album will support the work of CRS around the world.
  • Community Reflections: Available only in English, and appropriate for individuals ages 18 – 40, gather small faith-sharing groups to prayerfully consider how they use the season of Lent to encounter themselves, their neighbors and their God.
  • Stations of the Cross Digital Retreats: Spend 1-minute reflecting on how Jesus’ road to Calvary continues today in the daily lives of our brothers and sisters around the world.
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Want more ways to bring global solidarity into your classroom? Check out the CRS Global High School program and our CRS Education page.

  • Eucharistic Adoration — Food for All: Gather your community in prayer and adoration before the Blessed Sacrament as you consider the implications of hunger on our global family.
  • Seven Sorrows of Mary: Contemplate the role Jesus’ mother, Mary, played throughout his life with these Seven Sorrow of Mary.
  • Stations of the Cross: Journey with Jesus to Calvary with these Catholic social teaching inspired Stations of the Cross.
  • Lives of the Saints: Learn from those who have come before us by reflecting on the Lives of the Saints.

And don’t forget to check out all of our videos and prepare our meatless meals with your community!

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