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Would You Quit Your Job and Drive 11,000 Miles to Meet the Pope? These Parents Did

One family, 11 thousand miles, one epic road trip to see the Pope.

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Credit: americaenfamilia.com

Catire Walker and wife Noël Zemborain quit their jobs and loaded their four children into a Volkswagen Kombi van for an 11,000-mile road trip from Argentina to Philadelphia. The family is on their way to see Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families in September.

Why did they quit their jobs?

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Credit: América en Familia / Facebook

The 41-year-old Walker says that he and his wife wanted to enjoy their family, especially now that their children are still growing up. Walker told Fox News Latino: “We are starting to pay attention [to the fact] that time with the whole family is limited. If we don’t grab it when the moment offers it, we’ll miss it.”

If they quit their jobs, how are they paying for their trip?

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Credit: América en Familia / Facebook

The family of six raised money through IndieGoGo to afford the six-month road trip. The family originally wanted to raise $14,300, but raised less than $5,000. That didn’t stop them from pushing forward with their dream.

 Here they are in Colombia…

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Credit: América en Familia / Facebook

Guatemala…

Nicaragua…

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Credit: América en Familia / Facebook

Panama…

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Credit: América en Familia / Facebook

Costa Rica…

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Credit: América en Familia / Facebook

And Mexico.

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The adventure is more than a road trip to the family.

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Credit: América en Familia / Facebook

The Catholic family wants to make the trip a family adventure and experience while meeting and connecting with people in the countries they travel through.

It hasn’t been a totally bump-free ride.

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Credit: América en Familia / Facebook

At one point, one of the children hurt her ankle. They were able to make it to the doctor after 10 days of travel to get her ankle treated.

They’ve been relying on the kindness of strangers.

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Credit: América en Familia / Facebook

People along their route have opened their homes offering shelter, food, and mechanical assistance when needed to complete their journey.

The trip has already been so fulfilling that they’ve welcomed someone into their family.

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Credit: Facebook / América en Familia

They say their van, dubbed “Francisca,” is now a permanent member of the family. And yes, it’s named after Pope Francis.

What do you think about this family’s journey to see the Pope? mitú wants to know. Tell us in the comments below!

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Pope Francis Says That Women Are Now Allowed to Read Scripture During Mass and People Have Conflicting Emotions

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Pope Francis Says That Women Are Now Allowed to Read Scripture During Mass and People Have Conflicting Emotions

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On Monday, Pope Francis announced that he has amended the Code of Canon Law, the official Catholic doctrine to formally allow women to give readings from the bible during mass.

Pope Francis said he made the change in order to recognize the “precious contribution” Catholic women make to the Catholic community.

While some have praised Pope Francis’s decision as a step in the right direction, some have taken issue with the papal decree that also seems to go out of its way to make a distinction between “ordained” ministries (like the priesthood and the diaconate) and other types of priesthoods that are open to both men and women.

It seems that Catholic equality activists are divided into two camps: those who believe that the decree will “open a door” towards women being ordained priests, and those who think the ordinance explicitly shuts down the possibility.

“This is the first codification of allowing women inside the sanctuary,” said historian Phyllis Zagano to AP News. “That’s a very big deal.” Zagano believes that the decree is a step towards female ordination because “you can’t be ordained as deacons unless you’re installed as lectors or acolytes [first].”

Critics are also saying that the ordinance is simply an empty gesture to appease Catholic women who want more leadership roles within the church.

“There is nothing new in the decree — it effectively recognizes the roles that many women have been doing for decades, only now they will be controlled by a bishop,” Lucetta Scaraffia, former editor of the Vatican’s women magazine “Donne”, said to “The New York Times”.

“It seems as though the pope is conceding something to women, but it is something that they’ve had for decades, while denying what they have requested, the diaconate,” she continued.

Indeed, the act of allowing women to read from the bible during mass is already widely practice in Catholic Churches across the world.

When Pope Francis amended the Canon Law to “officially” allow it, he was simply adding greater legitimacy to a practice that was already in place in many ministries across the developed world.

The Argentinian pope explained his decision in a letter, saying that the newly-formally ordained practice would “allow women to have a real and effective impact on the organization, the most important decisions and the direction of communities, while continuing to do so in a way that reflects their womanhood.”

But what “womanhood” is remains up to interpretation. And it definitely isn’t the same as what was when the Roman Catholic Church was first established in 313 A.D.

It is also worth noting that some religious historians believe that women held leadership roles like deacon (ordained minister) in the early history of the Catholic Church.

In fact, since he’s been in office, Pope Francis has created two separate commissions to further investigate the role of women during the early Catholic Church. If it is found that women were, indeed, sometimes ordained as deacons, that fact could give a precedence to women becoming ordained ministers in the current era.

But until then, Pope Francis has made it clear that he has no plans to change canon law to include women in the priesthood or diaconate.

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Recognizing Its Diversity Issue, Argentina Is Working To Add More Transgender Workers To Its Labor Force

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Recognizing Its Diversity Issue, Argentina Is Working To Add More Transgender Workers To Its Labor Force

Leonardo Munoz/VIEWpress via Getty Images

Argentina has long been a progressive bastion in Latin America. It was one of the first countries in the region to allow same-sex marriage and also has anti-discrimination laws in many cities. It’s also been a beacon of hope for the transgender community, with the government long allowing individuals to choose their self-perceived identity regardless of their biological sex.

However, transgender workers still face immense discrimination and that has left a reported 95% of the community without formal employment. To help try and address this issue, the nation’s leaders have instituted a program to ensure that at least 1% of the workforce is made up of trans workers. It’s an ambitious task but the government is already making progress.

Argentina launched a program to ensure better transgender representation in the workforce.

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández signed a decree in September establishing a 1 percent employment quota for transgender people in the public sector. The law went into effect on January 1 and its aim is to bring more trans workers into the formal economy.

According to Argentina’s LGBTQ community, 95 percent of transgender people do not have formal employment, with many forced to work in the sex industry where they face violence.

“If all the institutions implemented the trans quota, it would change a lot for many of my colleagues. It would change the quality of their lives and they would not die at 34, or 40, which is their life expectancy today,” Angeles Rojas, who recently landed a job at a national bank, told NBC News.

There are no official figures on the size of the transgender community in Argentina, since it was not included in the last 2010 census. But LGBTQ organizations estimate there are 12,000 to 13,000 transgender adults in Argentina, which has a population topping 44 million.

Few countries in the world are stepping up to help trans workers quite like Argentina.

Argentina has long prided itself on its progressive policies. The nation was one of the first in the Americas to recognize same-sex unions and several cities have anti-discrimination laws aimed at protecting the LGBTQ community.

In 2012, Argentina adopted an unprecedented gender identity law allowing transgender people to choose their self-perceived identity regardless of their biological sex. The law also guarantees free access to sex-reassignment surgeries and hormonal treatments without prior legal or medical consent.

Worldwide, only neighboring Uruguay has a comparable quota law promoting the labor inclusion of transgender people. And a law such as this one has the potential to greatly impact the lives of transgendered Argentinians.

Despite the program, transgender people still face enormous challenges in Argentina.

A recent report by the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Trans People published in December said “the vast majority of trans women in the region have sex work as their sole economic and subsistence livelihood.”

It goes on to say: In Latin America and the Caribbean transgender people have their right to work violated along with all their human rights, and this takes place “in a context of extreme violence.”

Despite legal protections, Argentina’s trans community remains at risk. Many of the country’s trans citizens live in the Gondolín, a building in the Buenos Aires’ Palermo neighborhood, for protection and strength in numbers.

There have been advances in Argentina. This year, Diana Zurco became the first transgender presenter of Argentine television news, Mara Gómez was authorized by the Argentine Football Association to play in the professional women’s league and soprano María Castillo de Lima was the first transgender artist to go on stage at Teatro Colón.

However, the gap between the equality established by law and the real one remains large, warned Ese Montenegro, a male transgender activist hired as an adviser to the Chamber of Deputies’ women’s and diversity commission.

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