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 We are reminded of this love by the many people in the parishes who demonstrated this with the tremendous outpouring of aid for the many in the Philippines suffering due to Typhoon Haiyan. The Mission Office sent a check at the end of 2013, representing every one of your donations made through parish second collections to benefit the victims, the total was $397,344.97! Your efforts to help, and most importantly pray for the people in the Philippines is an outstanding response to Pope Francis’ recent call that “the Church must place itself in a permanent state of Mission.” Your sacrifices impact so many in a positive way; deepen your connection with those in need, and enhance your spiritual journey. We thank you on behalf of the thousands that you have helped with your donations.

 Lent is a time for sharpening your vision. Use Lent as a tangible tool for your spirituality by focusing on others and how you can help. An excellent opportunity for you to experience Lent more deeply is by participating in Catholic Relief Services’ Rice Bowl. CRS Rice Bowl makes a huge difference in fighting global hunger. Most all parishes in the diocese commit to CRS Rice Bowl during the Lenten season. If your parish does not have the materials available, go to www.crsricebowl.org.  The materials can be ordered quickly and at no cost. The Mission Office also has some materials on hand; please call us at (909)475-5130. 

 A full 75 percent of all monies raised from CRS Rice Bowl go towards the cause of ending global hunger. The other 25 percent stays in our diocese for local hunger needs. This year we are partnering with the Office of Social Concerns in distributing the remaining Diocesan percentage to our local parishes in the diocese that have food pantries. We invite you to join us in making this year’s CRS Rice Bowl the best ever. As Pope Francis stated in his Lenten message, “Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty.” 

 CRS’ slogan, “For Lent, for Life”, means right now and always. Mission is a permanent movement towards those in need. Thank you all for your continued support for those in need around the world. Your prayerful love brings both hope and joy.

Msgr. Tom Wallace is director of the Mission Office in the Diocese of San Bernardino.