My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
Two weekends ago (Jan. 26-29), I was blessed to be able to attend the Cursillo weekend at Quincy University. It was very inspiring to see the deep faith of the speakers and the way that Cursillo was able to help people to deal with their struggles in life, change their lives to be more committed to Jesus, and put their faith into action. Because it was such a memorable experience, I would like to tell you more about it.
If you are not familiar with Cursillo, the word cursillo (pronounced cur-see-yo) is Spanish for "a short course," so Cursillo in Christianity (in Spanish: Cursillos de Cristiandad) is a short course of Christianity.
Eduardo Bonnin Aguiló (1917-2008) and a group of Catholic laymen founded Cursillo in 1944 in Majorca, Spain, where they were refining a technique to train pilgrimage leaders. It was brought to the United States of America in 1957 in Waco, Texas. The first Cursillo in English was held in 1961 in San Francisco, Calif. Cursillo was approved by Pope Paul VI in December 1963 and given St. Paul as its patron. The first Cursillo in Quincy was held Dec. 12-15, 1974. Since that time, about 10,000 people have made a Quincy Cursillo.
Cursillo is the original three-day movement. The Cursillo focuses on showing Christian lay people how to become effective leaders over the course of a three-day weekend that begins on a Thursday evening and ends on Sunday evening. The weekend includes 15 talks (some given by priests, some by deacons and some by lay people), celebrations of the Eucharist, and sharing in the fellowship of Jesus Christ and each other. The major emphasis of the weekend is to ask participants to take what they have learned back into the world, on what they call the "fourth day." The method stresses personal spiritual development, as accelerated by weekly group reunions (after the weekend).
Although a Cursillo is not a retreat, its aim is to concentrate on the Person and teachings of Jesus Christ. As a lay movement, Cursillo gives those who attend a living understanding of basic Christian truths and a desire to serve the church. It also provides a means to continue the Christian formation that begins during the three-day experience.
The National Cursillo Center says that the Cursillo Movement "consists of proclaiming the best news of the best reality: that God, in Christ, loves us." The website for Quincy Cursillo describes the Cursillo movement as "a powerful instrument of renewal in the Church. ... Cursillo deals primarily with a growth in knowledge, in awareness and in love of God, neighbor and world. Even though they follow the same format, each Cursillo weekend is unique because the team and participants all have different life experiences. Therefore, it is difficult to explain exactly what your weekend experience will be like. We can only tell you that it will be a spirit-filled three days in which your relationship with Jesus, his Father, and the Holy Spirit will be enriched."
If you wish to learn more about the Cursillo® Movement, visit www.quincycursillo.com.
While many people are able to grow into a deep awareness and practice of their faith without ever participating in Cursillo, many others who have gone on a Cursillo weekend have found that Cursillo changed their lives and helped them to become better persons, better spouses, better parents, better Christians and better Catholics. I hope that many others will be able to experience these wonderful benefits.
May God give us this grace. Amen.