Share this story

 | By Catholic Spirit Staff

Misioneros take retreats across borders

In 2008, Deacon Roberto Martínez of Austin hosted visiting professors and graduate students from the University of San Marcos in Lima, Perú. During the visit, they discussed the possibility of taking the Christ Renews His Parish (now Welcome/Bienvenidos) retreats to Peru. Six months later, one of those graduate students called Deacon Martínez with news that the Congregación Canonesa de la Cruz Parish in Cusco, Peru, had received permission from the local bishop to welcome the retreat. Thus, the nonprofit Texas Internacional Misioneros de Cristo (Misioneros) was born.

The Misioneros offered that first retreat to Congregación Canonesa in Peru in July 2009. 

After the retreat, Sister Reyna Pineda Moreno, superior of the religious sisters who serve the parish, wrote a letter to Bishop Gregory Aymond, bishop of Austin at the time, thanking him for allowing the Misioneros to come to Peru. 

“I wish to thank you infinitely for sending us our brothers and sisters of the Christ Renews His Parish group … On the days of July 4 and 5 of 2009, we felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, which has come to renew our commitment to God and to our brothers and sisters,” she wrote. 

After the first retreat, another was offered in Perú and another retreat at St. George Parish in Fort Worth. Between 2014 and 2022, the Misioneros took retreats to several parishes in Mexico and Central America. Their most recent retreat was held in Barinas, Venezuela, last December. 

Deacon Martínez, who was ordained in 1998 and served at Sacred Heart Parish in Austin, said the Misioneros’ mission is to respond to Christ’s call to be disciples and go out to the world proclaiming the Good News. The retreats are led by lay volunteers and focus on the love and mercy of God through personal testimonies. 

The group seeks to make retreats available to Catholic parishes throughout the Americas so that all may experience how God works through others to bring people closer to him, Deacon Martínez said. During the retreats, they plant seeds, nurtured with Christ’s word and love, and after the seedling retreats happen the participants begin formation to give the next retreat in their parish and eventually to other parishes.

Rolando Jaimes, who serves as the president of Misioneros, was overcome with emotion after a retreat in Venezuela.

“It was a miracle. I’m leaving behind beautiful, good people, a very generous people despite their humble living and limited means. Yes, I may be leaving, but my heart will be staying here with the people of Venezuela. As long as God allows, my desire is to continue being a missionary of Christ and spreading the word and the love of God,” he said. 

The retreatants often share how they are moved during the retreat as well.

“Their heart-warming testimonies made the impossible, possible in me. I wholeheartedly identified with what they shared. They moved me as a human being, husband, father and as a son,” said one retreatant.

A retreat participant in Mexico expressed how he wanted to be a better father and husband after the retreat.

“I did not realize how far away from God I actually was and how far away I was from my family,” he said.

The clergy are also grateful for the retreats. 

“This was great help for faithful believers everywhere, including our religious. All encountered Christ and the Holy Spirit. Many were moved to go to confession, even though some had not received this sacrament in a long time. Thank you for this spiritual help that you brought to us, that even we [priests] also needed. God bless you,” said one Venezuelan priest.

Deacon Martínez said the Misioneros want all to get to know and feel God’s love. 

“Then having felt the love of Christ, we want them to share that love with each other throughout the community,” he said.

To offer support to the Texas Internacional Misioneros de Cristo contact Rolando Jaimes at (512) 801-5604.