Home Diocese CRS Rice Bowl Kick Off with Cassandra Bissainthe from CRS Haiti

CRS Rice Bowl Kick Off with Cassandra Bissainthe from CRS Haiti

Cassandra Bissainthe shared stories of her work with CRS in Haiti.

On January 23, CRS Rice Bowl had its kick-off event for the Diocese of San Jose, in preparation for the Lenten season. CRS Rice Bowl is sponsored by Catholic Relief Services, the official overseas relief and development agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Diocese of San Jose, through the Office of Social Justice Ministries. This Lenten practice encourages individuals and families to grow in global solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Each week will focus on a specific country and call to mind our neighbors in need through education and faith formation resources (available via crsricebowl.org). This year’s theme is “Companions on the Journey,” inspiring us to become companions for our neighbors most in need, and for every member of our human family. The countries during the 2018 Lenten journey are: Iraq, Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Malawi, and the United States.

To kick off the upcoming Lenten season, Cassandra Bissainthe, working with CRS Haiti, shared her story as a native of Port-au-Prince and her experience serving CRS in the area of Church Partnership and Capacity Strengthening. After her family was threatened in Haiti, Cassandra moved to Miami and graduated from Florida International University with a degree in international relations and a minor in religious studies. With Haiti still in her heart, Cassandra returned back to Haiti with her family, as a firm believer in putting her faith into action. 80 percent of Haitians live on less than $2 a day, and literacy is a major problem, especially among first and second graders.

Cassandra shared stories of her experience meeting Andrise, a teacher in Haiti, who is dedicated to improving literacy and the quality of education at a primary school, serving her community day in and day out. Andrise is among committed teachers in Haiti who value education as a means of not only benefitting the individual student, but also, the entire community and generations after. You may learn more about Andrise at crsricebowl.org, and she will also be highlighted during the week focused on Haiti, March 11-17.

Since 1954, CRS has been committed to Haiti, serving in emergency response, agricultural assistance, education, and health care. By working with sister agencies including Trocaire, the local Caritas, and the Ministry of Education, CRS has been able to support Haitian communities after Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

• Additional Updates from the Global Solidarity Team
The Global Solidarity Team would like to thank all parishes and schools who participated in the 2017 CRS Rice Bowl Lenten program. Through our collective efforts, the Diocese of San Jose collected $152,089.40! 75 percent of the funds raised are used for CRS’ international development projects and 25 percent of the funds raised are distributed within the Diocese of San Jose for parish or school-based programs that address hunger and/or food insecurity in the County of Santa Clara. Grant applications are reviewed by the local CRS Rice Bowl committee and grant awardees are announced on September 1 of each year. Applications will be available on May 1, via the DSJ website, www.dsj.org.

For the 2017-2018 grant year, the CRS Rice Bowl Grant committee is proud to announce that 28 grants have been awarded to 19 parishes and schools, totaling $41,000. Congratulations to all 2017-2018 Rice Bowl Grant recipients!
If you are passionate about global solidarity and would like to learn more about the partnership between the Diocese of San Jose and Catholic Relief Services, consider joining the Global Solidarity Team! To learn more, contact Crystal Catalan at ccatalan@dsj.org.