The Rostro de Cristo Retreat Program has offered over 3,000 participants from high schools, universities, parishes and seminaries an opportunity to live, work and pray in community in Ecuador for a period of seven days to two weeks.
Groups live in retreat houses designed and built for the program within two neighborhoods on the outskirts of Guayaquil. Emphasis is placed on being with members of the local community rather than doing for them, building relationships and developing a greater understanding of the reality of Ecuadorians, through visits and dialogue.
Rostro de Cristo works with various partners across the cities of Durán and Guayaquil which retreat participants may visit, including: Fundacion Nuevo Mundo, a progressive bilingual school for the disadvantaged of Durán and Guayaquil and Hogar de Cristo, an international Jesuit organization that provides affordable housing and social services to the poor. In addition, Rostro de Cristo has founded and runs after-school programs, which groups visit and participate in.
Retreat participants share activities to maintain living quarters, including trips to the local market, cooking and cleaning. Groups are invited to participate in parish liturgy and make time for daily prayer and reflection.
It is our hope that through these experiences, young people will touch, taste, smell, see and feel how the developing world lives and be forever changed. The retreat program is thus devoted to inspiring life-long commitments to service, faith and social justice.
Rostro de Cristo invites the participation of men and women from U.S. high schools, universities, parishes, seminaries, and various other associations into our retreat program. Group size is normally between ten and fourteen people. At least one person in the group should speak Spanish.
Retreats ordinarily last seven to ten days, depending on the time of year, including two days for travel.
Throughout their time in Durán or Guayaquil, guests will mingle with the people in the community and spend a number of hours each day visiting and learning from community programs. Group members will also share activities to maintain the living quarters: shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. Each evening will culminate with a group reflection.
Groups are encouraged to make time for prayer and reflection daily, as well as to participate in the parish liturgy. The experience will be enhanced according to the willingness of participants to share thoughts, feelings and experiences before, during, and after with other participants and their communities.
The 2017-2018 cost is $650 per person, plus air fare and a $550 transportation fee. Cost should not be an obstacle; funding information is available. U.S. passport is required, but a Visa is not required. While no shots are necessary for entry, consultation with your physician is recommended.
Start by sharing your experience with people who supported you trip. Your family, friends and sponsors will love to hear about what you did and how the experience affected you, this is also a great way to thank them for helping sponsor your trip. They supported your trip in a financial way and will most likely be very excited to know how the retreat impacted you and what their support contributed to.
Part of your Rostro de Cristo experience was, of course, the spiritual aspect. Take some time to think about the meaning of your spirituality and how, if at all, your faith and/or relationship with God have changed. For some people it can be difficult to try to share their experience. However, talking about what you did and what you felt and experienced can be one of the best ways to process your experience and make meaning for your life. If you are interested in sharing your experience with others through a reflection, contact the RdC Fellow.
We are grateful to be partnered with many excellent schools and institutions that are taking part in our retreat group programs. For the 2017-2018 season, we look forward to welcoming and walking the streets of Ecuador with:
Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, CA)
St. John Paul II High School (Barnstable, MA)
Assumption College (Worcester, MA)
St. Joseph’s University (Philadelphia, PA)
Manhattan College (Bronx, NY)
Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA)
St. John’s Preparatory School (Danvers, MA)
St. John’s High School (Shrewsbury, MA)
Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, CA)
Villanova University (Villanova, PA)
Catholic University of America (Washington, DC)
St Mary’s University, Texas (San Antonio, TX)
Fordham University (Bronx, NY)
Notre Dame Prep School (Fitchburg, MA)
Salesianum School (Wilmington, DE)
Fairfield Preparatory School (Fairfield, CT)
Xaverian Brothers High School (Westwood, MA)
Gonzaga University (Spokane, WA)
Cabrini University (Radnor, PA)
John Carroll University (University Heights, OH)
Merrimack College (North Andover, MA)
St. Xavier High School (Cincinnati, OH)
University of Detroit High School (Detroit, MI)
St. Rose of Lima
Walsh Jesuit High School (Cuyahoga Falls, OH)
Xavier High School (New York, NY)
Magnificat High School (Rocky River, OH)
St. Ignatius College Prep (Chicago, IL)
If you recently returned from a Rostro de Cristo retreat group experience, be sure to check out our “Stay Involved” section for ways you can continue to reflect, process, and act on your inter-cultural service learning immersion experience.