Latino men explore spiritual, physical, emotional health issues at retreat

Participants in the Latino Men’s Retreat pose for a group photo Aug. 27 at Sacré-Coeur Retreat Center in Magnolia. Seen standing in the center is Cecilia Soñé, director of Respect Life Ministry and interim director of evangelization and formation for the Diocese of Peoria. (Provided photo)

MAGNOLIA — After attending the first encounter for fathers and sons from Spanish-speaking communities around the Diocese of Peoria in April, participants asked for a retreat dedicated to their issues as Latino men. They got it on Aug. 27 at Sacré-Coeur Retreat Center here.

Father Antonio Dittmer leads the rosary at a Latino men’s retreat Aug. 27 at Sacré-Coeur Retreat Center in Magnolia. Offered at the request of men who attended a Father-Son Encounter in April, the retreat was a collaboration between the Respect Life Ministry of the Diocese of Peoria and OSF HealthCare. (Provided photo)

Another collaboration between the Respect Life Ministry of the Diocese of Peoria and OSF HealthCare, the retreat focused on the spiritual, emotional, physical and psychological health of the men, according to Cecilia Soñé, director of Respect Life Ministry and interim director of evangelization and formation for the Diocese of Peoria and a Napromedical consultant for OSF Saint Joseph in Bloomington.

Offering reflections on their spiritual well-being were Father Antonio Dittmer, pastor of St. Mary in Moline, and Father Julio Faes, who was parochial vicar at St. Mary in Champaign and St. Patrick in Urbana. Dr. Gustavo Galue, OSF HealthCare provider, talked about men’s health, especially issues that affect Latino males. They all took questions after their presentations.

The day also included the sacrament of reconciliation, a Holy Hour and rosary, and closed with Mass. Alex Vargas and his family from St. Mary’s Cathedral provided the music.

One of the men wrote to Soñé afterward to say that he left the retreat feeling “renewed and at peace.”

“Knowledge is power and the community that perseveres together, stays together,” he told her.

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