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CRS Rice Bowl Lenten Story of Hope: Week Four

March 20, 2023

From the Office for Social Ministry

The Lord speaks to us through our brothers and sisters, especially in the faces and the stories of those who are in need.” Pope Francis Message for Lent 2023

The CRS Lenten Rice Bowl program provides faces and stories around the world that reveal God’s transforming love through service with others. This year the second Lenten Rice Bowl’s Story of Hope is from the Philippines, where farmers are learning about the importance of diversifying their livelihoods to improve their sources of income and nutrition for their families.

Raul and Rhodora Enecillo live on their farm in Northern Samar, Philippines, with their granddaughters Loraine and Kate. Raul and Rhodora get up at 5 a.m. each day to tend to the fishpond, pigs, and chickens before getting their granddaughters off to school. Education is important to Raul and Rhodora. Their dream is that their granddaughters graduate from college and get good jobs—one wants to be a doctor and serve their community when she grows up. For years, Raul and Rhodora worked hard as coconut farmers. After harvesting, they prepared the coconuts for making oil—but it took a lot of work before they made money. On top of that, periods of heavy rain caused flooding, making farming difficult. 

Then Raul and Rhodora participated in a Catholic Relief Services program where they received training and assistance to build their own fishpond. They bought little fish to stock the pond, fish food and a net. The fish grew bigger, and soon they were able to sell them at the market. The fishpond provided nutritious food for their community, and their family so they can all enjoy nutritious meals together. In the program, Raul and Rhodora also learned how to better prepare for the increasing natural disasters in their area—like typhoons, flooding, earthquakes, and landslides. They made improvements to their house, using stronger, sturdier materials to protect their home, family, and community.  Since joining the program, they added two more fishponds along with pigs and chickens. This transformative experience is reflected in the faces of Raul and Rhodora now full of hope in a better future for all.

The 2023 Rice Bowl program not only contains this Story of Hope from the Philippines but also a recipe from the Philippines for a meatless Lenten Friday. Every Friday of Lent, we abstain from eating meat to experience a little of the hunger that many experience daily and also give the money saved each week by not eating meat—about $3 per person per meal—to our CRS Rice Bowl to feed those in need around the world. Here is the delicious meatless Lenten recipe for this week.

Ginataang Gulay From the Philippines

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil  
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cups of butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 14-ounce cans of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup of long beans or regular green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1-3 Thai chili peppers, or serrano chili peppers, sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups of steamed white rice

In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add the onion and continue to sauté until soft and translucent. Add the squash and pour in the coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes, or until the squash is soft. Stir in the green beans. Then add the sliced chili peppers and salt to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the green beans are tender. Serve over steamed white rice. Makes 4 servings.

For more CRS Lenten Rice Bowl resources, please visit the CRS website www.crsricebowl.org. For more on Pope Francis Lenten messages, please see the OSM website, www.officeforsocialministry.org. Mahalo!