What is Cursillo?"
It is not easy to explain Cursillo, not because it is a secret organization, but because behind the mystery, is God. No one can fully explain how God touches each person in His special/unique way throughout the various elements of the Cursillo Movement. One definition states, The Cursillo Movement is a movement of the Church which by means of its own method makes it possible for people to live what is fundamental for being a Christian, and to live it together; it helps people discover and fulfill their personal vocations, and it promotes the creation of core groups of Christians who leaven their environments with the Gospel.
Cursillo began in the 1940’s, when a group of men dedicated themselves to bringing the young men of their city, Mallorca, Spain, to know Christ better. Under the direction of Bishop Hervas they developed a method to help renew the Church. The Spanish word Cursillo (KER-SEE-O) meaning a short course, is often associated with the 3-Day weekend, which is only one aspect of the Cursillo Movement. They also developed a follow-up program so the initial enthusiasm would continue. It is the fundamental teachings of Jesus as lived with other Christians.
A Work Of The Church
“Since it is a movement of the Church, the Cursillo Movement has the same apostolic purpose as the Church herself. And the Church as Pope Paul VI told us, exists to evangelize.” Cursillo is one of the many movements in the Church. It is approved by the Pope as well as local bishops. Cursillo is a worldwide movement and a member of the International Catholic Organizations of the Pontifical Council for the Laity in Rome.
The 3-Day Weekend
Approximately three dozen men or women (the weekends are not co-ed) meet from Thursday evening until Sunday evening with a team of two priests (or one priest and a deacon or a nun) and from fifteen to thirty laypeople. Fifteen talks are given, ten by laypersons and five by the spiritual directors. The talks lead to lively discussions in small groups. The three days are interspersed with music, sharing, laughter, prayer, reflection and silence as you discover what it means to say, "We are the body of Christ." Mass is celebrated each day (except Thursday) as well as morning and evening prayers. There is nothing dull about a Cursillo weekend. It is a joyous workshop in the fundamentals of our beautiful Catholic faith where everyone learns by experiencing a living community. It is an encounter with Jesus Christ.
After The Weekend
The most important contribution the Cursillo Movement makes to the individual is the follow-up program. People who have made the 3-day weekend are linked together in a spiritually satisfying program that helps them support one another in their attempts to grow and remain in a Christ-centered life. Apostolic enthusiasm is sustained because people are linked together in friendship founded on Christ. This follow-up helps give application and method to what is presented on the weekend. It provides the pieces to make the three days of living Christianity, not just a weekend experience, but a lifetime one.
A Group Reunion is a weekly gathering of from three to six friends who share their enthusiastic faith in Jesus Christ. Each person shares his/her life in the areas of holiness, formation, and evangelization. By spending 30 to 60 minutes each week in this fashion, they lend support to one another so as to renew and sustain their apostolic commitment and enthusiasm.
This is the gathering of all the groups in one area (usually monthly). This gathering builds the Christian community on a wider basis and helps the group reunions to remain focused outward. The participants share their lives in Christ and are inspired by the lives of others.
More About Cursillo
"The Cursillo Movement is both a movement and a method. The purpose of the movement is to create small groups of Christians that will evangelize their environments with the gospel spirit. The purpose of the method is to help persons live what is fundamental for being a Christian by committing themselves to the spiritual aids the church offers in order to grow in holiness, formation and evangelization". -- The Pilgrim's Guide, a Cursillo Publication.
The goal of Cursillo is the goal of the Church: to bring all to Christ. This is done when informed, trained leaders set out with the support of others having a similar commitment.
It helps to renew and deepen Christian commitment.
The goal of the Cursillo Movement is that Christ be the prime influence in society. So it is said the PRIMARY OBJECTIVES of the Cursillo Movement are to develop in adult Christians a consciousness of their ability and mission to become leaders in the work of Christian renewal, and to sustain them as they provide a Christian leaven in civic, social and economic life. This "Christianizing of environments" is what the Cursillo Movement is about.
Cursillo brings a deeper understanding of the teachings of Jesus and how we can serve Him.
Cursillo is a highly structured, purposefully designed method for refreshing the faith of individuals and, through those individuals, the environments in which they live and work.
Cursillo is simply a method through which one's spirituality may be developed, lived, and shared in any area of human life.
Many who have made their Cursillo retreat weekend have likened it to a personal encounter with Christ or being touched by the Holy Spirit.
"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them" --Isaiah 42:16