Archdiocese of Philadelphia Launches 49th Annual Rice Bowl in Conjunction with Catholic Relief Services

This year, Rice Bowl will officially begin on Ash Wednesday, February 14 and conclude on Holy Saturday, March 30.

This morning at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia kicked off the 49th annual Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Rice Bowl initiative. Rice Bowl is a nationwide Lenten program providing people of all ages with a way to put their faith into action through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

Most Reverend John J. McIntyre, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, presided over this year’s blessing of the cardboard Rice Bowl containers.

In addition to the blessing, Ms. Anne H. Ayella, CRS Diocesan Director, Ms. Lizanne Hagedorn, Executive Director of Nutritional Development Services (NDS), an agency of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and Ms. Sarina DiBianca, Executive Director of Siloam Wellness, delivered remarks. Siloam Wellness is a wellness center serving people living with HIV/AIDS with an active food cupboard supported by NDS. It benefits in part from Rice Bowl contributions illustrating how Rice Bowl reaches those in need locally and globally.

“The beauty of Rice Bowl is the far reaching impact it has on both our global and local sisters and brothers. Our sacrifices in the Philadelphia Archdiocese make a real connection with others. In this year of Eucharistic Revival, we are reminded that when we receive Jesus, we are called to share His love with our sisters and brothers in need,” said Ms. Ayella.

In 2023, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s collection was up nearly 14% with over $426,000 raised through Rice Bowl. Approximately seventy-five percent of those funds, or $320,000, supported CRS’ humanitarian response and development programs in nearly 100 countries where it operates. The remaining twenty-five percent of the funds, or $106,000, went to NDS supporting hunger and poverty alleviation efforts through its network of 50 food cupboards throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.

“Food stamps no longer feed a family for the week with rising food prices. Thanks to Rice Bowl and Nutritional Development Services’ donations, the pantry gives us the ability to feed our families. The need has increased in the past year from 4,812 persons in 2022 to 5,882 persons in 2023,” said Ms. DiBianca.

For additional information and resources for CRS Rice Bowl, please visit

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Editor’s Note: Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic Community in the United States. It is dedicated to improving the lives of poor and vulnerable families through humanitarian programs and services. For more information on CRS’ Rice Bowl please visit

For pictures from today’s event for publication purposes, please contact the Office for Communications at [email protected].

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Katie Rogers
Media and Events Specialist
215-587-3747 (office)