Hispanic couples invited to strengthen their marriages in Christ

Free retreat will focus on personal, spiritual relationships

By Armando Machado

Latino couples seeking to enrich their marriages are invited to a free Spanish-language retreat Oct. 19 at St. Joseph Center in Mount Vernon. Free child care will be provided for children ages 4-9.

Guadalupe and Linda Zavala
Guadalupe and Linda Zavala are lead organizers of the annual Latino couples retreat set for Oct. 19 in Mount Vernon. Photo: Armando Machado

The annual retreat "helps married couples find themselves again, as a couple — helps them to find God for there to be enrichment in their spiritual life, enrichment in their marriage," said Guadalupe Zavala, lead coordinator for the all-day gathering.

"Sanacion interior" (internal healing) is the theme of this year’s retreat, featuring presentations by Sister Blanca Ruiz Montoya of Colombia, who has years of experience speaking at retreats for married couples. Music will be provided by Shadday, a local Hispanic worship group. The retreat will include the sacrament of reconciliation and conclude with Mass.

Zavala and his wife, Linda — married  17 years and parents of three daughters — have  organized the retreat for several years as leaders of a Spanish prayer group based at Immaculate Conception Parish in Mount Vernon. The annual retreat usually draws 150 couples.

Last year’s attendees included Cristina and Jose Medina, who have three children. "The way of God helped us become better people; it has helped our marriage," Cristina Medina said of the retreat. Jose Medina said becoming more involved with the church years ago helped him overcome a drinking problem, and attending the couples retreat has greatly improved their marriage.

Guadalupe Zavala said the enrichment provided through the retreat can help families resolve problems. "When we have Jesus at the center of our lives, when we keep him at the center of our marriages, our problems will have exits, have solutions," he said.

Many couples who attend the retreat become more involved with their parish communities, often as liturgical volunteers, Linda Zavala said. She describes the retreat as an experience with Jesus. "If you have an encounter with Christ, you will love your husband, your wife with a more profound love," which in turn provides a foundation for the couple’s children, she said. "It is fundamentally super important, having God in your life, to have a strong marriage."


When: Saturday, Oct. 19, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: St. Joseph Center, 215 N. 15th St., Mount Vernon
Registration: Free, including lunch; register at the door
Child care: Free, available for children ages 4-9
Information: Guadalupe Zavala, 360-540-7565

October 17, 2013