Check in: Gustavo Valdez praises true family atmosphere of conference

PHILADELPHIA—Gustavo Valdez, director of Hispanic ministry for the Diocese of Charleston, is attending the World Meeting of Families with his wife and three children, and so far he’s happy to discover that the event truly lives up to its name.

“It’s very interesting to be attending talks and conferences and see women caring for their babies, kids playing on the floor, and nobody cares, it doesn’t bother anybody,” he said in a Thursday interview. “This is about family. This is what I really like about this event. Everything is made for families.”

He and his wife have attended keynote speeches and smaller workshops he said really offer material families of all types can use.

Valdez said Wednesday’s workshops focused on larger concepts like Scriptural foundations of the family and Church teaching on traditional marriage.

On Thursday,the sessions got down to the nitty-gritty of how families could deal with practical, faith-related issues. Meeting rooms were packed and everyone seemed more engaged and excited.

“They put Church teachings at the people’s level, which I really liked,” he said.

He especially enjoyed sessions by Catherine Wiley on how parents and grandparents could effectively pass the Catholic faith on to their children, and another talk on on ways families can pray together and build their relationship with God.

“When we get back, we’re going to take one of the suggestions and really work on a devotion to Mary,” Valdez said. “We already like to pray the rosary together.”