Ministry provides counseling, support, to marriages and families
Camino y Esperanza (translated as “Way and Hope”) is an organization that began in Chicago Ill. Their focus is to accompany married and about to be married couples in order for their marriages and families be restored and evangelized. The organization explains that only Jesus Christ is “The Way”, for in Christ, marriages and families find the hope to overcome all difficulties life presents. Camino y Esperanza has now extended their services to Madison, Wisc.; Joliet, Ill.; and Lafayette and Gary in Indiana.
Recently, I spoke to the founders and active leaders of this organization, Deacon Roberto and Ana Maria Rivas. I asked the deacon about the two recent trips he and part of his organization participated in: Philadelphia and Rome. In Philadelphia for the Synod of Families, 70 of Camino y Esperanza representatives, adults and teens and young adults participated in the week of workshops, as well as attended the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis. In Rome they joined with 14 Camino y Esperanza representatives for an audience with the pope, excited and blessed to be a part of both events.
Deacon Rivaas said, “At this moment in time, it was key for us to participate in both. One reason is that the pope is Latino and he understands us more deeply. The other reason is that he wholeheartedly believes in the family. (Pope Francis) demonstrated it by (calling) this world synod of families and making the decision to have it in the U.S. made us believe we had to be represented there.”
Ana Maria explained (in the Rome experience) that “when the pope gives you his attention, you feel you are the only person in the room.” Ana Maria and Deacon Roberto were so close as the Pope went by they were able to touch his hand and kiss his ring. Both expressed they will never forget that moment.
In Philadelphia, the couple also witnessed the profound faith of our people and how much pain can be seen in the lives of people they help. Ana Maria’s voice quivered as she explained how packed those workshops in Philadelphia were as participants tackled difficult issues, such as homosexuality, same sex marriage, abortion and divorce. Ana Maria explained “People want direction from their faith leaders. They want to help people and do it in a faith-filled way that reinforces our Catholic faith.”
Camino y Esperanza continues to help couples and whole families in our diocese with counseling, weekly spiritual meetings and family retreats. For more information on this organization go to caminoyesperanza.net or call 773-847-9303.
In March of this year they will open an office of Camino y Esperanza locally, to be housed in the convent building of St. Patrick Church in East Chicago.