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Cursillo

“Come Holy Spirit, . . . renew the face of the Earth . . .” and in doing so, renew this wonderful gift of Cursillo so that lives and environments will continue to be changed . . . until all the earth reflects the love that we found on our weekends. Times they are a changing. “Veni Sancte Spiritus”.


What is it?

Cursillos in Christianity is a movement that, through a method of its own tries to, and through God’s grace manages to; enable the essential realities of the Christian to come to life in the uniqueness, originality, and creativity of each person.  In becoming aware of their potential and while accepting their limitations they exercise their freedom by their conviction, strengthen their will with their decision, to propitiate friendship in virtue of their constancy in both their personal and community life.

The Cursillo Movement consists of proclaiming the best news of the best reality: that God, in Christ, loves us.  Communicated by the best means, which is friendship towards the best of each one, which is his being person and his capacity of Conviction, Decision, and Constancy.

And what needs to be emphasized today, now, and immediately in order to be on the cutting edge of today’s debate is to facilitate and make possible for every person to encounter oneself always and absolutely essential in order to be able to encounter God and others.

 

History:

The Cursillo Movement is a movement of the Catholic Church. The Spanish word Cursillo means short course and is often associated with a 3-Day weekend.  The proper name is Cursillo de Cristiandad (short course of Christianity).  However, there is much more to the Cursillo Movement than just a 3-Day weekend.

This Movement originated in Spain in the 1940’s. It began when a group of men dedicated themselves to bringing the young men of their city of Mallorca, Spain to know Christ better. It developed as they prayed and worked together and as they talked together, sharing their thoughts about the state of the world and the effectiveness of their efforts to bring the light of Christ to it. The story of the Cursillo Movement is exciting. It’s filled with the adventure of new discoveries and works of outstanding dedication, tragic misunderstandings and setbacks, as well as impressive patience. These young men and the clergy who supported them endured many unpromising situations in the faith that God would work.

But it is even more an exciting story on the spiritual level. It is the story of how God taught a group of men how to work for Him in an effective way, a way that bears fruit. In the late 1940’s the first Cursillo was given and the Cursillo Movement began.  The first Cursillo was neither a lucky accident nor a blueprint which came directly from heaven, but grew out of a process of development. The first leaders had been working together for some time trying to bring men to Christ so they could work together to Christianize the world.  It grew in the climate of spiritual renewal. It was developed by men of prayer who were seeking to serve the Lord and was formed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit working in men who had dedicated themselves to bringing others to a knowledge of Christ.

The Cursillo Movement came to birth in the movements of renewal that preceded the second Vatican Council. Vatican II was such a major event in the history of the modern Catholic Church that there is a certain tendency to date everything from the Council. But Vatican II was itself born out of an effort of spiritual and pastoral renewal that had begun years before. The liturgical movement, the scriptural renewal, Catholic Action and other movements of the lay apostolate had begun years before the Council. Everywhere in the Church, people were seeking to find ways of “bringing the Church to life in the hearts of men” (Romano Guardini).

The leaders worked as a team that prayed together, shared their Christian lives together, studied together, planned together, acted together and evaluated what they had done together. Together they worked at the task of forming Christian life among the young people in Majorca. Out of their common efforts, something new in the life of the Church was born. Church renewal, spiritual renewal, pastoral renewal, the pilgrim style, a pastoral plan, teamwork among leaders – the Cursillo Movement grew out of all these things. It developed not by accident nor through a clearly specified plan, but was an organic development of the efforts of a group of men who had dedicated themselves to the work of God.

Cursillo was brought to the United States in 1957 and then to Canada a few years later.  It is now flourishing throughout the world.

 

Papal Approval:

“Cursillo’s de Cristiandad! Christ, the Church, the Pope, are counting on you!”

The Holy Father, Pope Paul VI gave his approval to the Cursillo Movement appointing St. Paul as the official Patron and Protector of the Cursillo Movement.  On that occasion he said in part: 

“This method of Christian teaching commonly called Cursillos in Christianity extends already over a great number of the faithful and has produced abundant fruit:
Christian renewal of the family life;
Vitalization of parishes;
Faithful observance of duties in private as well as public life.
All this has filled with the greatest satisfaction the Bishops and the other shepherds of souls.”

Pope Paul VI  Pope Paul VI

  • Born September 26, 1897
  • Died August 6, 1978
  • Pope from 1963 to 1978
  • Baptised Giovanni Battista Montini
  • Ordained in 1920.

In Rome in 1966, Pope Paul VI had the opportunity to address the Cursillo Movement. Among his words of encouragement were the following:

“Cursillo’s de Cristiandad, that is the word, purified through experience, affirmed by its fruits, that today travels with citizenship papers throughout the world…”Whether some methods become obsolete, whether new manifestations of the Spirit arise, the permanent task of the layman will continue to be the infusion of Christianity into life through the encounter and personal friendship with God and in communion with his brothers. The layman, upon forming himself in Christianity, reforms his mentality and conforms his life to Christ’s image by means of faith, hope and charity; acting with complete responsibility he transforms the temporal structures in which he is immersed, guided in his action by the glance of Christ he continually tries to remake the world according to God’s plan and design….

“We know that in your plan of spirituality and apostolate in the Cursillo Movement the ‘Sensus Ecclesiae’ (mind of the Church) is the guiding light that orients you…

“Beloved sons and daughters: Our soul is so oppressed by the vision of the evils which afflict the Church and mankind. But permit us to express our overwhelming joy that, at this moment, floods our soul before the immense chorus of your manly faith in Christ, your fidelity to the Church, your fervent loyalty to this Chair of Peter and to the ministry of the episcopal hierarchy. “Cursillo’s de Cristiandad! Christ, the Church, the Pope, are counting on you!”

 

The Fourth Day:

The “after” activity of the three day Cursillo weekend is known as the “fourth day”.  During this time perseverance is important just as it is in any method of renewal.  In the Cursillo Movement the community spirit is continued after the three day weekend through the “Ultreya” or reunions of the community.  These are held as often as weekly as a means of growth in understanding and zeal within the Christian community.  Reunions of smaller groups of friends are also held in order for them to encourage one another in spiritual improvement and the Christian apostolate.

Christianizing Environments  The Cursillo is an encounter with Christ.  Correctly applied and overseen, the Cursillo Movement can have very positive results in the spiritual revitalization of the world.  The Christ-likeness in a few good people is contagious.  The transference of Christ’s value to others in one’s family, school, place of business, etc., is the Christianizing of environments the Cursillo promotes.  The goal of the Movement is that Christ be the prime influence in Society.  So it is said that the primary objectives of the Cursillo Movement are to develop in adult Christians a consciousness of their power and mission to become leaders in their 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 all about.