Culture

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.

family-van
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?

10256937_429422773898623_4388575565792434895_o
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?

10168169_445293758978191_85163197002328612_n
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…

11411609_482643098576590_8419725925553702750_o

Credit: América en Familia / Facebook

Guatemala…

Nicaragua…

nicaragua
Credit: América en Familia / Facebook

Panama…

10845822_490509957789904_5500930368520583482_o
Credit: América en Familia / Facebook

Costa Rica…

10710396_490510027789897_3828078432546839090_o
Credit: América en Familia / Facebook

And Mexico.

11894531_507414729432760_6462129888530250526_o

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

11402264_482256655281901_4857060045469962800_o
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.

11750645_499290646911835_3575245499025026502_n
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.

11057775_511196669054566_3443918865330756734_o
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.

11062047_475729385934628_5791146641475794738_o

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!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

The Pope Tells Parents of LGBT Children That ‘God Loves Your Children As They Are.’

Things That Matter

The Pope Tells Parents of LGBT Children That ‘God Loves Your Children As They Are.’

Pope Francis is, once again, making headlines for his progressive views on contemporary issues. Since his election to papal office in 2013, Pope Francis has largely been considered open-minded due to his comparatively laid-back stances on controversial topics like divorce, climate change, and LGBT issues.

On Thursday, the Jesuit publication American Magazine reported that Pope Francis recently told the parents of LGBT children that “God loves your children as they are.”

via Getty Images

According to the publication, the Pope was having a dialogue with the parent of a lapsed-Catholic gay child who had left the church because “he did not feel accepted in his diversity”. The woman, whose name is Mara Grassi, is the Vice President of an association called “Jonathan’s Tent,” which “welcomes and provides information and formation to L.G.B.T. Christians, their families and pastoral workers.”

Before describing her interaction with the Pope, Grassi explained her journey as a Catholic parent of a gay child to American Magazine. “For many years I was like a blind person,” she said.

“After I came to know that my son was homosexual, I suffered a lot because the rules of the church made me think that he was excluded from the love of God. Nobody helped me,” Grassi added.

via Getty Images

It was only when Grassi attended a Catholic vigil against homophobia and connected with other parents of gay children that she realized that “faith and homosexuality are not in opposition” and that “God loves my son as he is.” And according to this most recent report, the Pope’s opinion seems to be in accordance with Grassi’s beliefs.

Grassi told American Magazine that she told the Pope she wanted to “create a bridge to the church so that the church too can change its way of looking at our children, no longer excluding them but fully welcoming them.” It was in response to this statement that the Pope told her: “The church loves your children as they are because they are children of God.”

According to the same report, before he left, Jonathan’s Tent gifted the Pope a rainbow-colored T-shirt with the words “In love there is no fear” written across the front.

Considering the Catholic Church’s traditionally conservative stances on gay issues, the Pope’s statement was surprising to many. In the past, the Catholic Church’s stance has been that homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law.”

The Pope himself also has a complicated track record on gay rights, implying that gay marriage “threatens” the “very institution of marriage”. However, he has also previously expressed sympathy and modest support for people in the queer community as well as their loved ones, saying “If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?”.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Pope Francis Condemns People Who Are “Taking Advantage” of the Coronavirus to “Create Economic or Political Advantages”

Things That Matter

Pope Francis Condemns People Who Are “Taking Advantage” of the Coronavirus to “Create Economic or Political Advantages”

Pope Francis, usually one to remain largely apoliticfal, has recently made headlines for his second public appearance since the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm starting in March.

Last Wednesday, 83-year-old Pope Francis made headlines for publicly wearing a mask–a garment that has become quite controversial in recent months.

via Getty Images

After months of virtual appearances, Pope Francis addressed an audience of around 500 people in the San Damasco courtyard in the Vatican. According to the Associated Press, the audience members were sitting on spaced-out chairs to accommodate social-distancing guidelines.

The Pope was seen entering and exiting his vehicle wearing a white mask. He was also seen using hand sanitizer in between greeting visitors. It is worth noting that Pope Francis had one of his lungs removed when he was younger, likely making him a high-risk person. Although he is usually known for his love of engaging with crowds, kept his distance this time.

In his speech, the Pope urged everyone to use the unusual circumstances of the pandemic to work towards the common good. He then warned against people using COVID-19 to exploit their own agendas.

“Unfortunately, we are witnessing the emergence of partisan interests,” he said, skirting around calling out anyone specifically.

“For example, there are those who want to appropriate possible solutions for themselves, such as (developing) vaccines and then selling them to others.”

He chastised these anonymous bad-faith actors further, adding: “Some are taking advantage of the situation to foment divisions, to create economic or political advantages, to start or intensify conflict.”

This isn’t the first time Pope Francis has condemned politicians and profiteers.

via Getty Images

He previously publicly criticized the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from the parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In 2018, Reverend Joe S.Vásquez of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement saying “forcibly separating children from their mothers and fathers is ineffective to the goals of deterrence and safety and contrary to our Catholic values”.

In an interview with Reuteurs, the Pope expressed his support of the statement, saying he was “on the side” of the Bishop’s conference. “It’s not easy, but populism is not the solution,” he concluded.

A few days later, he wrote on Twitter: “We encounter Jesus in those who are poor, rejected, or refugees. Do not let fear get in the way of welcoming our neighbour in need.” Some saw it as a clear sub-tweet directed at the Trump administration.

This time, it’s worth wondering if Pope Francis’s decision to wear a mask means he’s subtly making his politics known, even if he isn’t making grand political statements.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com