FORT LORAMIE — Taste and See is a free annual Lenten gathering celebrating cultural differences and embracing diversity as a gift, while introducing the CRS Rice Bowl program objectives, to: Pray, Fast, Give and Learn. Iraq is the CRS Rice Bowl spotlight country this first week of Lent.
Pope Francis has made numerous appeals to promote the culture of encounter in an effort to combat the culture of indifference in the world today. It means seeing through the eyes of others rather than turning a blind eye. “Not just to see but to look. Not just to hear but to listen. Not just to meet and pass by, but to stop. And don’t just say ‘what a shame, poor people,’ but allow ourselves to be moved by pity.” – Pope Francis.
Taste and See Iraq will be held on Monday, Feb. 19, at St. Michael Hall, Fort Loramie from 6 to 7:30 p.m. beginning with a simple supper. The menu includes traditional Iraqi recipes: Tepsi Baytinijan an eggplant casserole (vegetarian version), Mashkoul Rice, Summag Salad, and “Ethical Trade” coffee produced by farmers who were paid a fair wage.
After supper, Mohamid Al-Hamdani, will share his story as an Iraqi-American Muslim who came to the U.S. with his family as a refugee in 1992. There was a war in Iraq with Kuwait, and after that war, there was an uprising of Shiites in the south following Desert Storm. Al-Hamdani’s father participated in that uprising against the Saddam Hussain regime. The uprising ultimately failed, and his family was forced from their home into refugee camps in Saudi Arabia.
“Our family was one of the lucky few; we only spent 18 months in the refugee camps before we got picked for asylum in the United States,” he said.
People are called to love their neighbor. But, like the scholar in the scripture passage, people may find ourselves wondering, “Who is my neighbor?” The CRS Rice Bowl — Catholic Relief Services’ Lenten faith-in-action program, will help answer that question. Through CRS Rice Bowl, participants will hear stories from brothers and sisters in need worldwide, and devote Lenten prayers, fasting and gifts to change the lives of the poor. People are invited to reflect on how an encounter with our neighbor — as companions on life’s journeys — can be transformative. People will see how their prayers, fasting and alms can support those worldwide who are forced to flee their homes to find safety or better opportunities.
To RSVP for this free event, or for more information on CRS Rice Bowl go to www.nflregion.org or call 937-295-2891, ext. 105.