The Cursillo Movement

I need help in understanding exactly what this Movement is.

I learned that a local Catholic Church will be having a “Cursillo Weekend” in preparation for Lent and I would like to attend but I know nothing about this group.

When I googled the organization it appeared to be Roman Catholic but there were also websites for the Episcopalian Church Cursillo.

In the weekly bulletin for my own Catholic Parish some weeks ago there was an advertisement for a “Cursillo Weekend” and I was about to telephone to register when I saw the requirement for attendance was “being an active member of the Episcopalian Church.”

Why would that be in the weekly bulletin of a Catholic Church?

So, what is it - Roman Catholic or not? Can anyone help?:shrug:

It was founded by a Catholic and most Cursillos are Catholic but other faiths have adopted the format.

Go to this page to find contact info for your area. I would encourage you to ask if you can go to the next ultreya and join a small group. Many think these are for Cursillistas (people who have competed the weekend) only. Or that the weekend is the summit of the movement when the weekend is more of a jumping off point or jump start to bringing Christ to the world. Joining a small group is also a good way to see if Cursillo (and the commitment to it) is for you or not.

My only caveat is that sometimes non-Cursillo novelites creep in and some people get very attached to them and think that’s the best part of the weekend.

Pray about this. Cursillo is a good (and approved) movement in the church and has brought many closer to God.

Cursillo, which is Spanish for Short Course on Christianity or words to that effect is a retreat and ongoing spiritual formation directed at preparing people for ministry and apostolate within the Church, so it makes sense those conducting a specific retreat would want to attract only adherents of their own Church. It began as a spiritual movement in Catholicism, but there is nothing to stop any other denomination from adapting its methods. Seek out a retreat at a Catholic parish, preferably one in which you plan to serve.

i would be careful in regards to this movement. depending on what area you are at, the movement will be influenced by the people involved. locally here, i wouldn’t touch a cursillo weekend with a ten-foot pole, because those involved are not ‘in-line’ with Church teachings. God bless.

And in my area, they are faithful Catholics, doing much needed work in the Church and busily trying to bring the light of Christ into their environments.

Thank you all for your responses in helping me to understand the Cursillo Movement.

I was hoping it was a spiritual retreat because the weekend I am aware of stated its purpose was to prepare one for Lent.

I did not know that it was a movement wherein the members were preparing for a ministry within their parishes.

I am not physically able to do that work so I suppose this movement is not for me.

I am about as rad-trad as you can get; however, I lived my Cursillo weekend two years ago. Some of it was very good, very helpful and very cleansing. There were parts of it that felt as though the Lord was sucking out the venom from the snakebites of sin that had infected my soul through some serious wounds. I know that’s a rather graphic portrayal, but, I’m from South Texas brush country and we have a lot of rattlers. Furthermore, Satan made his maiden appearance as a snake, so the imagery is appropriate.

What I did not like was the way the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was treated. The music was awful and the season (I lived my Cursillo during Pentecost), was ignored, musically and spiritually.

On Thursday night, it is sort of meet and greet. You get to know the folks you will be living with for the weekend. Then, you go to night prayer. Confessions will be offered (not a penitential service). The next morning, you will have a 6:30 wake-up call and then go to morning prayer. After that comes breakfast. Then, you will have talks on things like Actual Grace, Sanctifying Grace and other doctrinal matters. Here is where the problem lay, especially on Saturday. Not a word was mentioned about Pentecost. The folks planning the talks (called ultreyas) had their format and come Hades or high water, the presenters were not going to deviate from their topics (or at least include the subject of Pentecost) regardless of the fact that this was the Feast of the Holy Spirit.

Mass is celebrated in the evenings, but, in my case, the music was the worst of the bunch, with a lot of the lyrics doctrinally insufficient. We had musical interludes between the talks, but, it was bad leftovers from the 1970s, as we were singing old Carpternters songs (as in Karen Carpenter–Top of the World). :eek: At least we didn’t do Tony Orlando, although I could have used some Tom Jones (he’s my earliest pop star memory–when I was a baby, my grandma and I would watch his show).

We went, as a group, to the anticipated Sunday Vigil Mass. Again, the music completely ignored the fact that it was Pentecost. Furthermore, we were stuck with a Quince Anos celebration. After Mass we had a special dinner, which was really nice.

The next morning, we had a 6:00 wake-up call and attended Mass at 7AM. Again, Pentecost was ignored. We did, however, get a surprise, as the Cursillistas walked about five miles from North Laredo to the Cursillo center to greet us. They also offered prayers for us.

After the last ultreya, we went to the Chapel for adoration. The music was especially horrendous and not at all suitable for Benediction. Even the priest looked peeved. There was whooping, hollering and a lot of noise. At that polnt, they gave us the Cursillo crucifix.

At about 7PM, we went to the Cursillo Center for the closing ceremony. Each of us had to say something. I hugged my dad and told him I loved him.

It is not a movement to prepare members for ministry within their parishes. It is a movement to prepare people to bring Christ into their everyday environment and spread the Good News. And that can be done anywhere. It is not, however, a Lenten retreat if that is what you are looking for. Go to the website and read about it before deciding.

everyone is physically able to do the most essential work for the Church, which is prayer, without which none of the more active ministries can bear fruit. Your prayer, and offering up your infirmities in union with Christ’s suffering makes the work of those engaged in more visible work effective and possible. Please please continue your support in this way. God bless you.

my guess is the “Cursillo weekend in preparation for Lent” in your parish is a retreat for cursillistas (members of the movement) to which they invite the whole parish and offer their gifs to help others prepare spiritually for Lent, not the full Cursillo “initiation” experience. If that is the case it could indeed be very beneficial for you or anyone. Why not call the parish and find out more, also if it is something you can do (is it an overnight, where would you sleep, what meals would be served, can you eat them, is there a cost etc.)

In the areas where I have known Cursillo, its members are among the most orthodox, faithful and strong Catholics you will ever find.

I just wanted to confirm what the others have said about Cursillo not being something to prepare people for ministry in their churches. It is more about evangelization whether at work or at home. CB Catholic said it well. And as puzzleannie said the most essential work of the church is prayer (and I think prayer is way underrated these days).

I really do encourage to to talk to Cursillistas in your area to get a flavor of it. I didn’t mean to discourage you by mentioning the small groups and ultreyas (which are for prayerful support and encouragement) and making it seem like it was beyond your abilities. Just wanted you to know the [FONT=Arial Narrow]weekend was not the beginning and the end of Cursillo - hopefully just the beginning.

If Cursillo is not for you it will probably be because it isn’t a spiritual fit for you. There are many other movements in the church - good ones- that will help you grow in holiness.


I have not went through this weekend yet but would like to. may be helpful. it’s wiki, user beware!

From reading the descriptions, it reminds me too much of a “Koinonia” retreat that I went on after being peer-pressured to do so at my University parish. It was awful and about as protestant as a Catholic retreat can get.

Koinonia could be described as Cursillo “lite”. I think it borrowed the format from Cursillo, as did TEC and a few others.

Cursillo, short course in Christianity, is a lay Catholic movement that started in Spain in response to a lack in catechesis. In the beginning there weekends were only available to men. Later weekends for women were added. The movement, one of many ways that the Holy Spirit is working in the Catholic Church, began just after WWII. The war stopped it from starting earlier. The short course is a three day weekend which continues with a fourth day. The “fourth day” is actually a lifetime of meeting with other cursillistas who support one another in their spiritual life.
Do not be concerned that you may not be physically able for parish ministry. A friend of mine with cerebral palsy made her cursillo last year. Regardless of where we may be physically or emotionally, we are called to continue to grow in faith throughout our lives. This is the essence of the fourth day as we share our faith struggles and successes with one another.
Cursillo is not a preparation for Lent or Pentecost. It is a course in living a spiritual life. Spiritual formation continues throughout life. It is true, as noted in an objection, that the leadership for the weekend retreat follow a set format from which they may not deviate. Speakers summit their talks before presentation.
Weekends are intentionally separated by gender. There are no ecumenical weekends.
Do check out the first official Cursillo website listed by LeRoy.

Yes, before I lived my Cursillo, I researched it becasue Cursillistas, at least the ones down here, are very reticent and quite reluctant to tell you what the weekend is all about, as far as what to expect. Their standard issue answer is that you have to live it. Not satisfied with the answer, I looked up the websites that LeRoy posted. Now, none of them said anything about how the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass would be treated. That was the big disappointment for me, along with their complete disregard for Pentecost.

They do not deviate from the program, even though, as I told the rectora (female director) and the members of my cohort (the ladies at my table), one could certainly incorporate the Holy Spirit and Pentecost into the talks so that these could tie in together. When they asked for feedback, that was the first thing that I told them. The feast (and season) of the Church should not be placed in the backburner during these weekends because then, it makes the retreat’s agenda more important than the Church’s liturgical calendar, especially since Pentecost marks the end of the Easter Season.

Why a need to cover the specific event of the pentecost in the Cursillo weekend? Just a question. Thanks!

For reference I have not went to Cursillo, but many friends who are so much better than me have and speak highly of it.

I will answer youur question with a question Why would one ignore the feast of the Birth of the Church? That is exactly what happened. I was not expecting the weekend to be completely devoted to Pentecost, but, not a mention was made by anyone that we were celebrating this huge feast. There should have been a way to incorporate this important feast into the weekend. It was simply ignored.

Sadly, very few of the participants even knew that Pentecost closed out Easter.

To mullenpm:

My experience in my area:

I was a fallen-away Catholic for 20 years when I was signed up for a Via de Cristo weekend. This is the Lutheran’s version of Cursillo. While waiting for the weekend, thank God my wife had a conversion to Catholicism and I had my reversion. I spent the weekend in the company of some very good people that meant well. However, Christ was not present sacramentally. I also thank God that I knew the difference about what we have in the Eucharist! One positive note: the weekend did shift my focus in life greatly towards Jesus and His True Church and away from me. Also, for the first time that I was aware of, I experienced anti-Catholicism. Much of that was done by most completely unaware of what they were doing.

My wife eventually did a Cursillo weekend and subsequent ultreyas are my only experience with Cursillo. From my experiences with the Cursillo ultreyas in my area, I will agree with some that the orthodoxy is lacking and it is greatly influenced by the Charismatics. In one ultreya Mass homily, it was the first time that I had ever heard that Jesus’ miracle of the feeding of the multitudes was not actually a miracle such as we had been taught. This deeply disturbed me. Teach me what the Jesus and the Apostles taught! Pretty much from that point forward, I saw many people that wanted to be served rather than to serve and many treated Cursillo like a secret, exclusive club.

If it leads you to Christ and His Church, this is a good thing. If it leads you away from Christ and His Church, this is a bad thing and should be done away with. My wife and I completely detached from the Cursillo community. I also have many friends that wanted to deepen their faith in Jesus and the teachings of His Church also detach completely.

I suggest seeking a holy spiritual director and if needed, seek time away at a convent or abbey that offers this.

On a side note: don’t even get me started on the Catholic Marriage Encounter weekend. Not once was marriage even mentioned as a sacrament or even discussed as such! I guess they had to appease the remarried and the non-Catholics so they could receive the Eucharist.

Peace, Graubo

Re: Cursillo and the Charismatic Renewal.
It is true that many Cursillitas are also charismatic. However these are two distinct movements of the Holy Spirit within the Catholic Church. The book given each person who attends a Cursillo weekend actually addresses the differences. You will not find an emphasis or encouragement to pray in tongues during a Cursillo.
The first Cursillo took place in Spain just after WWII. Its purpose was to address the lack of catechesis among laity and the lack of information that Catholics had about their Christian faith. That would include, as Benedictgal mentioned, not knowing that Easter culminates in the events of Pentecost. Those who attend Cursillo may be conservative, liberal, or any place in between. Backgrounds range from cursory faith formation during childhood (and nothing later) to those in seminary. Again, it is a basic or beginning course in Christianity which is meant to lead to continuous spiritual growth, or formation throughout life through weekly reunions with others striving to grow spiritually. Our Faith is one in which we can reach deeply and never reach the bottom of all that it offers.
The focus of the Charismatic Renewal, begun in 1967, is Pentecost and the reality that the gifts received by the Apostles are also available to each of us. Each of us receives these gifts through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation and yet may never open what has been received. We Charismatics definitely believe in miracles. During the first Charismatic Conference I attended I watched a film about the people living in Juarez, Mexico and the miracles that took place there when members of a parish in El Paso responded to the words of Christ regarding who to invite to a banquet. 150 tacos and single ham fed twice that number of people. Brain damage caused my malnutrition was reversed and children with no schooling began to write in the dust of discarded cars. Jesus Christ, who works through those who believe, can just as easily serve 5,000 not counting woman and children with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes.
I have never been to a Marriage Encounter. I still remember the couple my husband invited to our home to discuss attending a weekend. What a statement of faith on my husband’s part regarding the strength of our marriage!
Each of these movements has the blessing of the Magisterium and is mentioned in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.

The constant refrain during the Cursillo weekend I attended is that of John the Baptist. "I must decease that He might increase."
Every week as I meet with my Cusilistas, we begin each reunion with the same prayer that the Church prays every Pentecost.
"Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, enkindle in us the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and we shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth."
Just as the weekend follows a set format, so do the reunions and ultreyas that follow. What happens during the fourth day is continued lifetime formation as we support and encourage one another in the spiritual life. We share our struggles and successes. Cursillo is more than a one time “mountaintop” experience. During the reunions we talk about our prayer life, what we have read, and how we have put our Faith into action.

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