What is Cursillo?

An Introduction to the Cursillo Movement

Cursillo, in Spanish means “short course in Christian living”. It is a course which centers on the teachings of Christ. Cursillo includes the Three-Day Weekend that begins around 7:30 p.m. on a Thursday evening. Your sponsor, or co-sponsor, will bring you to the site of the weekend: a conference center or parish in the Diocese. There are hotel accommodations. Over the next three days, 15 short talks are given by lay persons and clergy who have spent several months working together carefully planning and preparing for the Weekend.

The talks range for example, from examining our Ideal of Life, God’s Grace, how we as Laity support the Church, what we do to exercise our Faith, how Study helps to a deeper understanding, how the Sacraments help express our faith, how we exercise our faith in specific Actions, how we can be effective in the Environments in which we live and work, what possibilities there are in our Christian Communities and how to stay in touch with others familiar with our experience in Group Reunions.

The Cursillo weekend is not a retreat. Each day is long and has a variety of planned activities. There are frequent short breaks throughout the weekend. Cursillo begins with a self-reflection period on Thursday evening. After Chapel on Thursday night, you will be asked to maintain silence until the next morning, allowing everyone the opportunity to think about and to look inside themselves. This silent period will not be repeated the rest of the weekend.

The weekend is an opportunity for you to meet clergy and laity who are seeking to strengthen, share and grow in their faith. It provides you an opportunity through shared prayer, worship, fellowship, study, laughter, tears and love to experience the reality of the gift of God’s love freely and unconditionally given. Holy Eucharist will be celebrated daily. You will hear five meditations.

The three-day part of Cursillo concludes on Sunday evening. Your sponsor will then pick you up and take you home. Why is it called a three-day weekend when it begins on Thursday and ends on Sunday? The Cursillo is like the Hebrew day. The evening and the morning comprise the day (Sunset to Sunset), hence the three days.

More information is available at nccursillo.org. Also you may contact Cameron Cooke at camcooke@yahoo.com or 336.603.6709.

A Little History . . .

Cursillo actually began with small groups, which we now call Group Reunion. Active, zealous Christian laymen in Spain sought ways to bring Christ and their Christian values into their real life situations. Because the movement originated in Spain, we have carried over many of the Spanish words originally used. This group of men met weekly, prayed together, and planned ways to bring Christ into their everyday settings. They found strength and mutual encouragement for each other as they carried out their plans under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As this circle of friends grew, they began to hold weekend retreats to focus on the fundamentals of Christianity, the study of our everyday environments, and how to take an active, intentional role as Christian leaders and witnesses of the Gospel.

Realizing that active Christians could not survive in isolation, the early leaders of Cursillo determined that the small groups needed to be linked regularly for celebration and encouragement. These regular gatherings we call "Ultreya." This word emphasized the need to persevere in the overwhelming task of apostolic witness while conveying a sense of hope.

In addition to attending a Three-Day Weekend and joining Reunion Groups and Ultreya, Spiritual Direction is advocated as an intentional and continuous discernment of God’s call in our lives. Both lay and ordained individuals may be trained to offer Spiritual Direction. People often seek spiritual direction during a time of transition in their lives but a Spiritual Director can also be used as a guide for personal spiritual growth as an ongoing discipline. The Community in Action describes the overall Christian Community, living out the call of Christian Leadership together.