THIRD WEEK OF LENT ENCOUNTER: Burkina Faso

Where in the World is Burkina Faso?

Burkina Faso is due south of Mali, due north of Ghana, southwest of Niger and northeast of Côte d’Ivoireô on the African continent:


Encounter Safiata

The dry and dusty climate of Burkina Faso means farming can be difficult. It means water can be hard to come by. And it means Safiata and her family often face hunger. Even though she had two plots of land to farm, the many months each year without rain made feeding her 9 children and 16 grandchildren a real challenge.

That’s why Catholic Relief Services is providing farmers like Safiata with more land to grow crops—like onions—that thrive in dry climates. And thanks to a CRS-sponsored irrigation system, she knows she’ll have access to water year-round. That means her crops will grow, and she’ll be able to sell some at the market. “I pay school fees thanks to selling the vegetables. The vegetables help solve the problems my family faces,” Safiata says.

Moreover, she can prepare for the future. Together with others, Safiata is putting a little of the income she earns from selling her crops at the market into a community savings pool. “If you face difficulties, the community will help you,” she says. Those who contribute can borrow money from the fund for emergencies, school fees for their children, or to build businesses.

How Can Your Change in the CRS Rice Bowl Help?

In Burkina Faso, Safiata, a mother, grandmother and farmer relies on the money she makes from her crops to put her children through school. How can our purchases this Lent support farmers and artisans? How can you support those, worldwide, who are forced to flee their homes to find safety or better opportunities? Visit crsricebowl.org for more information.

Join Pope Francis to Pray & Fast For Worldwide Peace

Pope Francis is asking all men and women of goodwill, regardless of their religious denomination, to join him in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace Feb. 23 for the war-torn countries of the Democratic Republic of Congo, of South Sudan and the world.

Addressing crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus Feb. 4, the Pope said that “Faced with the tragic protracted situations of conflict in different parts of the world, I invite all the faithful to take part in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on February 23rd, the Friday of the First Week of Lent”. (Vatican News)
The President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, is encouraging Catholics across the nation to join with Pope Francis on Feb. 23, for this special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace.

Take Action

What can I do for peace? Three ways to respond:
  1. Learn about the situations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Read this statement from the USCCB President.
  2. Pray for peace using this Prayer for the Day of Prayer and Fasting for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the whole world or one of these prayers for peace.
  3. Share what you’ve learned with others. Spread the word on Facebook or Twitter. Invite your parish to use these Prayers of the Faithful for the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on February 23.  Gather your community for prayer for peace using the Scriptural Rosary for Justice and PeaceChaplet of Divine MercyLitany of the Holy Name of JesusLitany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or Holy Hour for Peace. Give to Catholic Relief Services. . . to support their peacebuilding work in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and other countries.

CRS Encounter: Iraq – Life and Dignity of the Human Person

Catholic social teaching inspires and guides how we are to live and work in the world. In this principle, Life and Dignity of the Human Person, Jesus reminds us that we are all made in God’s image and likeness. That means that every human being has a special value and a purpose. We need to care for each other so we can be the people God calls us to be.

Encounter Majd

 

Eight-year-old Majd thought his family was going on a picnic. His mother, Lamya, said they would be back home in a week. But when ISIS attacked their home in northern Iraq, the family fled for good.

“What worried me the most were the kids,” Lamya says. “Our life was stable and we were doing well; we had a very big house. Our children had everything they needed. But when we fled, I was not able to bring anything for them—not even food.”

Fortunately, the family found an apartment to rent with other displaced families. It is much smaller than the home they had, but it’s safer. The children enrolled in a CRS-sponsored school, where the routine provides hope, stability and a sense of belonging. “Education is very important,” says Lamya, especially in Iraqi culture.

Lamya received training from CRS and became a teacher at the school. Now she has hope for the future. “I really love children, so when I go to class I feel like I am with my family,” she says.

Her son, Majd, also loves going to school. “Majd is so motivated to go to school. He just wants it to be morning so he can go,” Lamya says. “He is relaxed, having fun and more confident.” For Majd, school means a normal life—now and in the future.

 

Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for Catholic Relief Services

Lent and Catholic Relief Service’s Rice Bowl

The Feature Image:  Teacher Joseph Andrise, 29, from Notre Dame de Lamerci de Robillard school, in Nord Department, Haiti, and her students of first grade eat cassava bread with peanut butter that is given as a morning snack. Many children come to school without eating. This gives them energy to stay awake and learn. Donations to the CRS Rice Bowl helps to make a difference.

Catholic Relief Services in partnership with the diocesan office of the Catholic Education Commission, are implementing the program Haiti Reads. Every student receives a new workbook to practice reading and writing. This is a big change from before, when students had to copy notes from the board.

Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for Catholic Relief Services

Read a letter from Bishop Walkowiak here.

 

Your Lenten Gifts Change Lives

Did you know that by sacrificing $1 a day for 40 days of Lent, you help provide:

1 MONTH OF FOOD for a family

2 YEARS OF SEED for a farmer

1 EMERGENCY KIT for refugees

75% of your CRS Rice Bowl donation supports Catholic Relieve Services programs around the world.

25% helps alleviate hunger and poverty in our local Diocese of Grand Rapids!

  • Catholics in the U.S. touch more than 120 million lives through CRS programs.
  • Motivated by the example of Jesus Christ, CRS reaches communities in 112 countries.
  • CRS Rice Bowl helps families reflect on and respond to global issues like hunger, migration and poverty.

Companions on the Journey

PRAY to encounter Christ in your life and in every member of our human family.

FAST to encounter the obstacles that keep you from serving God and your neighbor.

GIVE to encounter God’s love, and share it with our brothers and sisters in need.

Rice Bowls Available in the Church Narthex

Please stop by the table in the Church Narthex to pick up your family’s Rice Bowl beginning after all Masses the weekend of February 10th and 11th. They will remain there until they’re all gone!

Help Your Children Understand What the Rice Bowl is!

Please share this video with your children!

More info to come throughout all of Lent! Stay tuned…

Pope Francis’ 2018 Prayer Intentions

Please remember to keep the Holy Father’s prayer intentions included with your daily prayers throughout 2018. Each Sunday during the Angelus address, he will request prayers for specific people and situations that are of deep concern to him and the universal Church.

Click here to access and download the 2018 monthly prayer intentions!

 

Mark Your Calendars to Pray for Lives Affected by Abortion

2018 Nine Days for Life – January 18th through January 26th

All life is precious!

Since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision 45 years ago, more than 58 million children’s lives have been lost to abortion. In addition, the lives of millions of parents have been shattered as well.

In prayerful recognition of these lost and broken lives, the U.S. Bishops invite Catholics and others nationwide to participate in Nine days of prayer, penance and pilgrimage (January 18th – 26th). Click the link for details or to set up to receive the daily novena in English and Spanish each day by email, text or through the organization’s app.

As Pope Saint John Paul II reminds us in The Gospel of Life, we are asked not only to love and honor human life, but also “to work with perseverance and courage” to establish “a new culture of life, the fruit of the culture of truth and of love.” (no 77)

 

 

Plenary Indulgence for March for Life Participants

Christian faithful who participate in the 2018 March for Life may receive a plenary Indulgence. In order to receive the Indulgence, while attending the March for Life you must be detached from sin, pray for the Pope’s intentions and, within a few days, make a sacramental confession and receive the Eucharist.

The elderly, sick and those unable to leave home will be able to receive a plenary Indulgence. Simply fulfill the same requirements as those of the pilgrims while spiritually joining themselves to the March and offering prayers and their own physical sufferings to God.

If you are not able to complete all of the requirements necessary for a plenary Indulgence you may still be granted a partial Indulgence.