Operation Rice Bowl – Vietnam

| February 14, 2012 | 0 Comments

Program helps Catholics connect with those in need

For more than 35 years, Catholic Relief Services’ Operation Rice Bowl has offered Catholics in our country a way to connect with their brothers and sisters in need around the world through the traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and acts of charity.

More than a billion people — over one-sixth of the planet’s population — suffer from hunger, according to Catholic Relief Services. Nearly half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 per day.

For the six weeks of Lent, ORB highlights countries where poor communities are being strengthened by the work of the Catholic Church through CRS. An online collection of short videos, personal stories, and simple meatless recipes from each country, along with a daily guide, are sources for reflections and ideas to enhance the Lenten experience for Catholics of all ages. You can learn more about the program on its website.

During Lent, each issue of The Catholic Spirit will highlight a person and recipe from a developing country. Participants are urged to put money they save from eating the simple, meatless meals into a symbolic “rice bowl” to be donated at the end of Lent to CRS through parishes. Seventy-five percent of the money collected is sent to CRS for overseas humanitarian programs and 25 percent of it remains in the archdiocese for local food programs.

Spotlight on Vietnam


My name is Giap and I live in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. When I was 17 I became sick with a fever. My muscles got weak, and soon I couldn’t walk anymore. I am now in a wheelchair.

When I finished high school, I didn’t know what my future would hold. Then I heard about a school that CRS supports for people with disabilities, and I decided to enroll. My brother stayed for a month on campus with me to help me get settled. My fellow students all have disabilities — some of us are in wheelchairs, some use crutches and some are blind. The school has special facilities to help each person succeed.

We are all learning computer skills and how to work in an office setting. It’s encouraging for all of us to see other students graduating and getting jobs. I started a group that designs websites. I’m proud to have overcome my difficulties and look forward to supporting myself with my new skills.

Catholic Relief Services’ education programs in Vietnam and around the world support and promote quality education for all people. The Inclusion of Vietnamese with Disabilities program helps people with physical disabilities achieve higher education and find good jobs. IVWD helps each person realize his or her potential. This program reflects the Catholic social teaching principle of Dignity of the Human Person.

Vietnam: Vegetable Spring Rolls

1/4 cup water
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
and crushed
2 tbsp. sugar

Spring Rolls
1 cup cooked thin rice noodles
1/3 head green cabbage, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup carrots, grated or julienned
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup fresh herbs (cilantro, basil or mint), finely chopped
1 pkg. rice paper wrappers

Combine all sauce ingredients in small saucepan and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to thicken. Cool before serving.

Cook rice noodles as described on package. Lightly steam cabbage, green onions, and carrots until slightly tender. Toss noodles, vegetables and herbs in large bowl.

Quickly submerge a rice paper wrapper in warm water and lay on a smooth surface. Place about 2 tablespoons of mix on each wrapper and fold wrapper into shape.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Photo by Philip Laubner/CRS

YouTube Preview Image

Tags: , , ,

Category: Featured, Lent