March 9-13, 2023
Make your Lenten journey truly special by joining Rostro de Cristo on a most unique and powerful pilgrimage to Guayaquil, Ecuador. You will be hosted by Rostro de Cristo's volunteers and fellows - a group of remarkable young adults who, inspired by their faith, have committed to living the Gospel with families and communities in some of Latin America’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Each day they encounter and serve Christ on the peripheries of Ecuador’s largest city, and you are invited to join them!
Who is Rostro de Cristo? Rostro de Cristo (Spanish for “Face of Christ”) is a program that inspires a life-long commitment to faith, service, and justice by providing transformative, intercultural experiences of living the Gospel of Christ with those on the margins. Founded in 1989 by Fr. Jim Ronan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston who served in Ecuador with the St. James the Apostle Missionary Society, Rostro de Cristo has over thirty years of experience of inviting young adults from United States to experience of humble faith and service by living in solidarity with those who much of society has forgotten.
Where does Rostro de Cristo serve? Currently we live in a large barrio on the fringes of Guayaquil, Monte Sinaí. One of dozens of “informal settlements” in Guayaquil, Monte Sinaí is rapidly growing and due to the influx of migrants from the rural areas of Ecuador who are in search of greater access to education, health care and jobs. The community are hampered by chronic, widespread poverty and lack basic needs, such as potable water, proper sanitation, health care, and schools.
Rostro de Cristo Volunteer Program: Each year a group of young adults immerses themselves in the daily realities of the those living in Monte Sinaí. As young professionals volunteering the gifts of their education, and most importantly the gift of mercy, they support local ministries - tutoring programs for children, a shelter for families escaping domestic violence, pastoral ministry and leadership formation for youth, local Catholic schools, health care ministries, etc. Volunteers cultivate friendships in the community by visiting neighbors in their homes and participating in the life of the local parish. They live in an intentional Christian community where each day they pray and share meals together. The volunteers live simply, in solidarity with their neighbors. There have been almost 300 full time volunteers that have served with Rostro de Cristo since 1991.
Retreat Group Program: Our volunteers host groups of students from U.S.high schools, colleges and parishes who join the volunteers where they liveand serve and are guided by them. During the “retreat” we invite the studentsto reflect on the ways they experience Christ in Ecuador and in their daily lives at home, and to discern God’s call in their lives. They see in our volunteers and neighbors a witness to the gospel message and are inspired. We host almost 300 students a year.
Fellowship Program: Recently, Rostro de Cristo created a professional fellowship program. Recruiting from our 260+ alumni, the fellows will help lead and mentor the next generation of Rostro volunteers, and deepen our impact in Ecuador by leveraging their professional skills and experiences in the support of the work of our Ecuadorian partners.
What will I do while on Pilgrimage with Rostro de Cristo? Accompanied by our founder, Fr. Jim Ronan, Executive Director, Evan Cuthbert, our volunteers, fellows, and our staff., you are invited to open yourself to an encounter with Christ as you walk the streets where our volunteers live, meet their neighbors, and visit our local ministry partners. You will pray and reflect with others who are sharing in your pilgrimage. You will come to know intimately Rostro de Cristo and our mission.
March 9: Travel to Guayaquil, Ecuador. Meet Rostro de Cristo staff and transfer to a local retreat house in Guayaquil. Brief orientation, dinner, and evening Mass, and meet your fellow pilgrims (4-8 per group).
-Morning Prayer followed by breakfast.
-Guided experience of our neighborhoods and ministries. You will share lunch and conversation with some of our friends and partners who have been serving in Ecuador for decades. Our volunteers will introduce you to neighbors where you can hear their stories and share yours (volunteers and staff will translate). You will also meet local experts who will help us understand the contexts and realities of the people of Ecuador, particularly those living in Guayaquil.
-Evening reflection and conversation while enjoying some refreshment.
-Each day you will celebrate Mass with Fr. Ronan, the volunteers, and staff. On Sunday March 12 we will join
the vibrant local parish community for Mass.
-On the last evening we will join the volunteers and staff for a dinner in downtown Guayaquil.
March 13: Return to US on a morning flight. (Should you desire to travel elsewhere in Ecuador following the pilgrimage we will be happy to help you arrange for transportation to the airport at alternative time.)
Cost: Each person will need to cover airfare to and from Guayaquil, Ecuador. To help cover the costs for the pilgrimage we ask that you make a generous gift to Rostro de Cristo as you are able.
Travel: Please contact Executive Director, Evan Cuthbert, before booking flights to coordinate arrival and departure times. You will need a valid passport that will not expire 6 months before your return date.
Covid Requirements: Currently, there are no restrictions to enter Ecuador and all travelers must complete a “Travelers Health Declaration Form” required by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health. However, we ask that all guests, staff, and volunteers of Rostro de Cristo be vaccinated according to the guidelines provided by the CDC.
Lodging and food: The retreat center offers simple, secure, and comfortable housing, beautiful grounds, and a prayerful environment. Each individual or couple will have their own room with two twin beds, a private bathroom with hot water shower, and air conditioning. The food offered will be carefully prepared local fare.
Immunizations and Vaccinations: Please consult your health care provider for specific information for travel to the coastal city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. Generally, no additional immunizations or vaccines other than the standard are necessary.
For more information contact Evan Cuthbert, Executive Director, at 617-746-5890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.