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Lenten sacrifice can help children in the missions

Students at St. Rose of Lima School in Chelsea with their classroom Missionary Childhood Association Mite Box. Pilot photo/courtesy Maureen Heil, Missionary Childhood Association

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BRAINTREE -- With Ash Wednesday approaching, the Missionary Childhood Association of the Archdiocese of Boston is hoping schools, parishes, and individuals will use the organization's Mite Boxes to put their Lenten sacrifices to work helping children in the missions.

Named for the parable of the "Widows Mite," which tells the story of a small donation with a great significance, Mite Boxes are simple cardboard boxes that can be used in schools or parishes as "piggy banks" that are filled with donations throughout the season. When full, they are sent back to the association to help in its work providing both spiritual and material aid to children in the missions throughout the world.

"Every day, somebody can say 'You know what, I'm not going to get that bag of chips at lunch today, I'm going to put (the money) in that classroom bank so that there's a kid in the world that can eat today,'" she said.

"Every parish and school kind of puts their own spin on things, and that's the best part of this, when the kids really take ownership of this," said Maureen Heil, director of Programs and Development for the archdiocese's Pontifical Mission Societies, speaking to The Pilot Feb. 17.

For example, at Our Lady of Lourdes in Brockton, part of the Tri-Parishes of Brockton, Mite Boxes were blessed and distributed during a recent children's Mass.

In many places, the Mite Boxes are used not just in Lent, but throughout the year.

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