"The fruits of this program are seeds planted in the hearts
of Ecuadorians and North Americans alike. These are
seeds filled with the transforming power of the Gospel of
Jesus Christ. As they grow they take shape in countless
ways – touching lives near and far."
-Father Jim Ronan, Founder
Rostro de Cristo is a Catholic program whose mission
is to provide spiritual and educational opportunities
for young people from the United States to live out the
Gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of Ecuador. The
program invites participants to:
Lead a simple lifestyle.
Build an intentional Christian community.
Be in relationship with the Ecuadorian people
and reflect on the face of Christ in their joys and
Work with the Ecuadorian people to find long term
solutions to the problems of poverty and together
seek opportunities to improve the lives of the
Face of Christ Prayer
Among a people struggling for liberation of body, mind
and spirit….let us see Your face
Founded in 1988 by Fr. Jim Ronan of the Archdiocese
of Boston, MA, Rostro de Cristo (Face of Christ) is a
Lay Volunteer Program of the Catholic Church based
in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Despite the oppression of corrupt institutions…let us
see Your face
Within our work, that may feel ineffective and render
us helpless…let us see Your face
Within the cycle of poverty that seems to have no
end…let us see Your face
When struggling with the distance and misunderstanding
we feel from those at home…let us see Your face
When fighting against the temptation to judge and
abandon one another…let us see Your face
Amidst the temptations and the apparent solitude of a
life of simplicity…let us see Your face
Lord, give us a spirit of: service, strength, health,
perseverance, humility, patience, love, faith and hope…
So that others may see Your face in us.
Written by the 2002–2003 Volunteer Community
The main purpose of the program is to challenge young
people to follow the example of Jesus by living and
working among the poor, and by recognizing the face
of Christ in them.
The lay volunteers and retreat participants are young
people from the U.S. who have been called by God to
Ecuador to deepen their faith in two main ways: by
living and praying in community and by serving others
less fortunate than themselves.
Rostro de Cristo fulfills its spiritual and educational
mission in two ways: by offering volunteer and retreat
experiences to young adults from the United States,
while also supporting various education, health and
other social service projects in Ecuador.
From Boston College to Notre Dame to Stanford,
since the program's founding Rostro de Cristo has
touched the hearts and challenged the minds of over
125 one year volunteers and more than 3,000 retreat
participants from across the country.
Rostro de Cristo participants are thus witness to the
Gospel and a source of hope and light in the community.
These experiences will inspire life-long commitments to
service, social justice and solidarity with the people of
Ecuador and the world.
The Rostro de Cristo program brings together the
people of Ecuador and the United States in order to:
Foster mutual evangelization in the Catholic
tradition through a shared discovery of faith.
Transform the world based on the Gospel by
promoting understanding, justice and appropriate
Inspire life-long commitments to service, social
justice and solidarity in the global community.
P.O. Box 920433
Needham, MA 02492
(617) 552-2281
[email protected]
Experience the
Face of Christ in
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 ten
days to two weeks.
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.
Groups live in a retreat house designed and built for
the program within the neighborhoods 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.
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.
Rostro de Cristo works with various partners across the
cities of Duran and Guayaquil which retreat participants
may visit, including: Fundacion Nuevo Mundo, a progressive bilingual school for the disadvantaged of Duran
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.
"Visiting peoples homes, I am not
so much marveling at their poverty
as seeing them as my neighbors, as
potential friends. Every day, I feel
incredibly thankful to be here."
-Volunteer Theresa Drallmeier
Retreat Program Participants Include:
Boston College
Cabrini College
DePaul University
Dominican Academy
Fairfield Prep
Fairfield University
Fordham Prep
Fordham University
Holy Family University
Jesuit High School
John Carroll University
Magnificat High School
Manhattan College
Mt. St. Joseph’s Academy
Santa Clara University
Seattle University
St. Ignatius High School
St. Johns Prep
St. Joseph’s University
St. Xavier High School
University of Scranton
Villanova University
Walsh Jesuit High School
Xaverian Brothers
"This trip has inspired
honestly has changed the way I
see the world and my place in it."
-Santa Clara Retreat
Over 125 Volunteers have participated in the Rostro
de Cristo Volunteer Program which offers young men
and women, usually college graduates between the
ages of 21–25, an opportunity to live, work and pray in
community in Duran and Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Over the course of a year volunteers live out Christian
values including charity, sacrifice, patience, humility,
faith, perseverance, simplicity and love. While in
Ecuador volunteers focus on building faith and living
in community with each other, and those with whom
they work. Participants live and work among the poor,
forming relationships with them built on respect and
Opportunities for ministry include teaching, tutoring,
coaching sports, working in soup kitchens, leading retreat
groups, assisting in parish activities, working at a hospital
for Hansen’s Disease, and visiting orphanages, nursing
homes and a local children's hospital.
The emphasis in the Rostro de Cristo program is always
on being with the people and not doing for them. The
focus is on forming relationships, which serve as the
most powerful and profound means of expressing God’s
love to each other.
"...I also felt immense Joy, in spending quality
time with the children and families, seeing
their smiles, and their parents gratitude."
-Volunteer Daniel Gagnon
Photos and Captions. Clockwise from bottom left: Villanova University retreat group
at Semillas de Mostaza ©Courtesy of Villanova University; Cabrini College retreat
participant working with afterschool student ©Courtesy of Cabrini College; Volunteer,
Lauren Mackey with patient at Padre Damien's Hansen Hospital; Volunteer, Colie Kruger,
distributing vitamins at Semillas de Mostaza ©Diana Clock; Volunteer, Danny Carlin with
children on Manos Abiertas field trip to Guayaquil ©Elyse Raby; Front Cover: Children
of Valdivia and Semillas de Mostaza, Volunteers singing with Nueva Generacion a local
church youth group, Volunteer Elyse Raby reading to students at Manos Abiertas,
Church steeple; Inside Fold: Streets of Veintiocho de Agosto ©Diana Clock.