Venezuela “Expo Laicos”: “The Lord rescued me from alcoholism”

Diego Giraldo, a member of Lazos de Amor Mariano, participated in the “II Expo Laicos 2022” that brought together more than thirty movements of the secular apostolate that live in Venezuela. There he made known his testimony of faith

“After I met Marian Bonds of Love, my life underwent a radical conversion. When I lived my retirement I was an alcoholic, I was tied to liquor and my attitude towards life and faith was highly questioned. Later I began to experience a life change through the hand of Jesus Christ who healed me. And today, with the grace of God, I have 10 years without drinking alcohol.

The testimony is from Diego Giraldo40 years old and from Colombia, although he has lived in Venezuela for twenty-one years, where he has experienced his own conversion.

He shared his experience with flappingon December 10, during the «II Expo Laicos 2022», a space organized by the Archdiocesan Council of Laity (CAL) of Caracas and held in the Plaza Bolívar of the Chacao municipality. There they participated 30 movements of the secular apostolate making known their charisms and the work they do.

Diego Giraldo


Giraldo: What example am I setting for my daughter?

He is currently the provincial director of Lazos de Amor Mariano in Venezuela, but 10 years ago Giraldo was a young family man who lived tied to alcoholism. Every moment was an opportunity to “enjoy life” by consuming liquor, even though he was really wearing her down and he was in danger of falling ill and losing his family.

«If I had continued on that path, I would have become a sick person, also a man far from God and in danger of losing my family and my soul.“, said.

“What example am I setting for my four-year-old daughter?”, he asked himself one day and attended the retreat invited by Lazos de Amor Mariano. There he experienced the true happiness that he needed in his life. «The change is in the radicality and love that the Gospel teaches», he said during the conversation with flapping during the II Venezuelan Lay Expo.

He considered that in many places young people are taught a half Gospel, without the radical love of Jesus. «The young man needs to know the truth because when he knows it, he falls in love with Christ and follows him. Now I am the father of three daughters who are my reason for being and I try to teach them everything beautiful that I have learned in this movement»he assured.

Diego Giraldo at Expo Laicos


Who is the founder of Lazos de Amor Mariano?

He explained to the visitors to his stand that Lazos de Amor Mariano was founded 23 years ago and arrived in Venezuela eleven years ago. It is a private association of faithful that was founded by Jose Rodrigo Jaramillo Fernandeza committed layman in the city of Medellín (Colombia), on July 16, 1999, the day of the Virgen del Carmen.

Jaramillo was initially a successful businessman, but was kidnapped on November 30, 1984 by the Colombian guerrilla Army of National Liberation (ELN). This changed his life of faith and that of many people forever. He is currently 66 years old.

During his captivity he felt the natural fear of being killed and cried out to God as any person in danger does. «My God, forgive me if I have offended you, I put myself in your hands, do what you want from me!», recalled Diego Giraldo when talking about the founder of this movement that spans more than 15 countries.

Jaramillo felt great peace and experienced his encounter with God when he prayed the Holy Rosary meditated to the surprise of his captors. He was then released,” he recounted.

He continues his act of faith and begins to meet with family and friends, including several young people, to pray the Holy Rosary. However, some doubts of a Protestant nature arise in some: the virginity of Mary, the figure of the Pope and about the Catholic Church.

Jaramillo proposes to several young people to form a prayer group, to accompany them and help them in their spiritual growth. Since then the group meets every Friday to date, answering those concerns and generating conversions like Diego’s.

Your presence in Venezuela

Giraldo explained that Lazos de Amor Mariano is based on three fundamental pillars: love for the Eucharist, true devotion to the Virgin Mary and obedience to the Pope, which are the answers to the initial concerns of those young people.

«As a movement in each diocese that we arrive, we first make contact with the diocesan bishop. We do not enter without the bishop’s permission as that strengthens communion.

Regarding the presence of the movement on Venezuelan soil, he said: “We arrived in Venezuela eleven years ago. We are in Maracaibo, Barinas, Valencia, Puerto la Cruz and Caracas”.

Currently there are 130 missionaries throughout the country. “We had the happiness that José Rodrigo Jaramillo visited us for the first time in Venezuela this year 2022,” he said.

How is the spirituality of LAM?

Returning to the movement, he commented that spirituality is the total consecration to Jesus through the Virgin Mary through the method of Saint Louis Maria Grignon de Monfort, that is, the consecration of 30 days. They prepare for nine months for the consecration, renew their baptismal commitments and say “Yes” to the Lord again.

«Our greatest apostolate is the prayer groups on Fridays at 6 in the afternoon where the Holy Rosary is prayed, the lives of the saints are known and they preach about the Gospel on Sunday. We also hold spiritual retreats every month.”

Regarding the mission, he indicated that during these activities they lead “conversion retreats and this year in Venezuela, we began to lead marriage retreats to rescue that sacrament that is so blurred today in society».

The second version of Expo Laicos in Venezuela

Expo Laicos is an initiative that emerged in 2019 by the Archdiocesan Council of Laity of Caracas, CAL. The purpose of the activity is to make known their charisms, spirituality, work they do and the mechanisms for entering the movements.

Father Armelín de Sousa Andrade, accompanied by the communications pastoral team, had words of thanks on behalf of Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo; he visited the spaces of each of the movements and motivated them to continue in their work.

Father Armelín de Sousa Andrade at Expo Laicos


The activity also had the support of musical groups that let us listen to their songs alluding to Christmas and other faith themes. Catholic singer-songwriter attended said nasser and the music ministries of the Charismatic Renewal and Fuente de Agua Viva.

The current directors of CAL, José Manuel López and Iraima Sandoval, president and vice president, respectively, thanked the participants for attending this exhibition space of the charisms of the Catholic Church in Caracas. «It was fulfilled from the joy and closeness of our Advent season», indicated the lay leaders to flapping

CAL is part of the National Conference of Laity of Venezuelawas founded in 2002 and established its statutes on May 6, 2005.


Venezuela “Expo Laicos”: “The Lord rescued me from alcoholism”