Father Victor Galier, an ambassador educator of Catholic Relief Services and priest from the Archdiocese of Atlanta, spoke about Operation Rice Bowl and Helping Hands at an all-school assembly with Bishop Luers High School students on Feb. 9. He recently returned from a visit to Zimbabwe. Bishop Luers is a CRS Global High School.
Father Galier explained to students to think of a time when they had a hurt -- emotional or physical -- and the people that helped with that hurt. When we take time to help others, he explained, we act as Jesus did. Helping other people helps us to understand what they are experiencing.
Father Galier placed pictures of teachers and students when they were seven years old and asked those assembled to consider things a seven year old does ... attends school, plays, eats, etc.
In some places in the world, though, those daily activities of a seven year old are replaced with just survival concerns. Father Galier explained that God's favorites are the poor and marginalized, and Catholic Relief Services' mission is to go to the poorest of the poor and supply the necessities of life. Helping others makes us co-creators with God, he noted.
Mother Teresa said the poor and the Eucharist are one and cannot be separated.
Father Galier related that 18,000 children die each day from a lack of food, water or proper sanitation. He added there are 27 million people in slavery, and 244 million people are migrants.
One way to reach out to the poor and marginalized is to prioritize our lives better. He asked the students, "What are you going to do?" as they continued the discussion in Sodalitas groups. The students contribute to Operation Rice Bowl, a Lenten project of Catholic Relief Services. Students will also prepare meals for the poor through the Helping Hands project on April 11.