“The Cursillo is a movement of the Church which, with its own method, makes it possible to live what is fundamental for being a Christian, in order to create nuclei of Christians who all engage in leavening their environments with the Gospel, helping to discover and achieve their personal vocation, within these.”
This definition says two things: First, that Cursillo is intended to help Christians learn and live what is fundamental to being a Christian. And, secondly, having done that, to help these same Christians discover and live out a personal vocation.
Another familiar way to express this same two-fold idea is that Cursillo is intended to make saints and apostles. Saints are people who know God, who know God’s love and grace, and who live their lives from this relationship. Apostles are saints who have a mission to share that same knowledge with others.
Cursillo attempts to reach its two-fold goal by :
This is the enquiry and preparation stage. It is usual for a person to be invited to attend a Cursillo. Each person (pilgrim) is sponsored to a 3 Day Cursillo, so in the Pre-Cursillo a pilgrim is ‘prepared’ through being involved in activities that help them understand the Cursillo Movement. Men and women attend separate Cursillos.
The Cursillo begins one evening and continues through the next three days. These three days are made up of a series of talks and meditations, all of which are intended to focus the pilgrim on “what is fundamental for being a Christian”. The Cursillo is conducted by a team of lay persons and some clergy. Central to the Three Days are the sacraments – particularly the Eucharist.
The outcome of the Three Days should be a realisation on the part of each pilgrim that:
(a) Christian witness is not an option, but a commission.
(b) Each of us has a part to play in that witness.
(c) Each of us needs to be linked with others to be effective in our witness.
(d) We can find that “linkage” in what is called the Fourth Day – the rest of our life following our Cursillo!
Cursillo is designed to be experienced, and that makes it difficult to describe. It is an opportunity to live for a short time in Christian community, distancing ourselves from the pressures of the outside world.
It is not all listening, learning and work. There is a climate of joy and expectancy throughout. The talks are interspersed with discussion, prayer, worship, songs, laughter and times of reflection and silence.
Cursillo exists to provide Christian apostles with tools to strengthen their witness. Cursillo offers Christian community or Group Reunion. This is simply a group of Cursillistas (3 to 5 people) who meet together briefly but regularly, to pray together and to plan ways in which they can carry out their witness, giving an account to one another of the progress made or where they find they need prayer and direction. Cursillo also offers Ultreya (a Spanish word which was a pilgrim’s call to “persevere”). They draw the smaller Group Reunions into one large gathering for encouragement on the Christian journey.
None of the activities of the Post-Cursillo are intended to become a replacement for regular parish involvement. They are also not meant to create an exclusive clique.
The “Three Days” (or 3 Day Cursillo) normally runs from a Thursday evening beginning with a meal and ends on Sunday about 5p.m. followed by a light tea, or it may be held from a Sunday evening to a Wednesday in one of the school holidays.
If you can answer “Yes” to each of the above then Cursillo needs you.
Cursillo is not ecumenical. In New Zealand it is found predominantly in the Anglican denomination. The first Catholic Cursillo weekend has recently been held in Auckland. It is operated as a separate identity within each Diocese under the direction of the Diocesan Bishop. A person’s application to attend a 3 Day Cursillo must be endorsed by the Vicar of his/her Parish, or, in the case of a priest, the Bishop.