About Us

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Rostro de Cristo (Face of Christ) is a volunteer and retreat group immersion program in Durán and Guayaquil, Ecuador, founded by Fr. Jim Ronan of the Archdiocesse of Boston, MA.  Fr. Jim began the program in 1988 in Durán as a way for young people from North America to encounter Christ by entering into the reality of the lives of the people of Ecuador. It began with one volunteer and one retreat group; since then, Rostro de Cristo (RdC) has hosted about 180 year-long volunteers and 3,300 retreatants!  Rostro de Cristo is a 501c(3) non-profit organization and provides a true immersion experience for those who choose to live, eat, work, play and pray with the people of Durán and Guayaquil.

The mission of RdC is lived out in Ecuador in two ways: a year-long volunteer program, and a short-term immersion retreat program.  RdC volunteers live and serve with partner organizations in their communities.  They also serve as guides to the twenty-five groups of high school and college students who participate in the retreat group program and encounter Christ in the lives of neighbors for seven to ten days.  While each part of RdC furthers the mission in a distinct way, they are deeply intertwined and equally meaningful.

 “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” Luke 21:3-4

The goal of Rostro de Cristo is a simple one: to be with the people Ecuador. Many people travel to places like Durán or Guayaquil with a focus on providing a service to people in need. While well intentioned, they often never take the time to truly get to know the people they are serving by listening to their stories, and hearing their struggles and joys. Inspired by our faith, we believe that to encounter the face of Christ in others requires that we be and work with people, not do for them. Inspired by the widow who offers her small contribution in the temple, we believe the greatest gift we can give one another is the gift of ourselves which is given in humility and love.

As an RdC volunteer or retreat group participant working with and being with Ecuadorians, it is very likely that you will experience love, generosity, friendship, and joy by simply sharing in the daily life of your neighbors. You may also experience their generous hearts by receiving what they have to share, through their conversation, meals, families, time, hospitality, and open hearts. You will also feel the pain and hardships as you hear and see the reality of life lived by so many who live on the margins of Ecuador’s largest city. This love and generosity, heartbreak and suffering of our neighbors reveal the strong presence of Christ in the Ecuadorian people and their inspirational faith. The time you spend being in the community allows you to return the same love, and through this shared experience, to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ which calls us to loving and just relationships with our neighbors.

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