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February 27, 2003


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia begins the 28th annual campaign of Operation Rice Bowl on Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2003. The 40 day Lenten program encourages parishioners to fast one day a week during Lent. Families place money that would have been spent on meals into a cardboard "rice bowl" to remember those who are poor and hungry. These rice bowls are available from most parishes. After Easter, parishioners' contributions will be donated to those in need. In addition to fasting, participants are encouraged to pray and learn about our neighbors who live in poverty around the world and here at home.

Approximately 12 million United States Catholic parishioners will use the Operation Rice Bowl materials during Lent 2003 as a guide to pray, fast, learn and give. Catholic Relief Services is marking its 60th year as the official international humanitarian agency of the United States Catholic community.

In 2002, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (282 parishes) raised $279,000 and was a top ten contributor among the 169 participating dioceses. Seventy five percent (approximately $210,000) of the funds raised in the Archdiocese were distributed through Catholic Relief Services in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Those funds were used to support development projects which teach farmers new techniques, bring clean water to communities and provide health and nutrition education to ensure the well being of the most vulnerable community members.

Twenty five percent (approximately $70,000) of the locally raised funds remained within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Nutritional Development Services, a department within Catholic Human Services, used these funds to purchase food for the poor and hungry in the Philadelphia area.


Editor's Note: For more information about Catholic Relief Services and Operation Rice Bowl, visit

Donna Farrell
Broadcast and Media Specialist

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