“But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. And His gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”   Ephesians 4:7, 11-12

What is Cursillo?

  • an opportunity to grow in faith and in spirituality

  • a deeper understanding of the teachings of Jesus and how we can serve Him.

  • an experience of living and sharing with others in a loving and caring Christian community and realizing that this can be extended into our own environment

  • a continuing community that gives support and encouragement to help Christians carry out their Baptismal Vows.

A Brief History of Cursillo

The first Cursillos developed in the Roman Catholic Church in Mallorca, Spain, in the late 1940s. Under the leadership of their bishop, several laymen began to formulate a way to draw active laymen into the work of "Christianizing" the everyday life settings where they lived.

Eventually, the Cursillo Method found interested parties in the United States. The first Cursillo Three-Day Weekend in the United States was held in Waco, Texas, in 1957. At first, these were still held in the Spanish language, and were available only to Roman Catholics. The first English speaking weekend was in 1961 in San Angelo, Texas. In time a few Episcopalians were invited to participate in the weekends.

The first official Three-Day Weekend in the Episcopal Church was conducted with help from Roman Catholic sponsors in the Diocese of Iowa in 1970. Soon, weekends were being held in various parts of the country. The first Episcopal Cursillo Ministry Seminar was held in 1975 in the Diocese of Dallas. The Episcopal Cursillo Ministry Committee was formed in Atlanta in 1979.

A common aspect of the history of Cursillo shared by both Roman Catholics and Episcopalians was the fascination with the Three-Day Weekends. For this reason, in many places the Cursillo name was associated only with such weekend experiences. However, deeper study revealed that the Cursillo Method involved much more than just "putting on weekends." This has caused considerable development within both ecclesial communities, resulting in a better appreciation for what Cursillo is and a sharper, clearer understanding of how to apply the Cursillo Method -- philosophically and practically.

Today, that development is proceeding. Such development is characterized by a return to the roots of the movement, and a more comprehensive attempt to define the purpose of the movement in simple, cohesive terms. Cursillo is emerging as a mature instrument in the hands of committed clergy and lay Christians to empower the "ministry of the laity."

The Weekend: 

After the Weekend:

Cursillo includes a three-day weekend that begins on Thursday evening and concludes on Sunday. The weekend includes fifteen talks, five meditations and a Eucharist every day.  

The Cursillo weekend is not a retreat, but an opportunity to meet clergy and laity seeking to strengthen our faith. It provides an environment to experience the reality of the gift of God’s love through shared prayer, individual meditation, worship, study, fellowship, laughter, tears, and unconditional love.  

Each person returning from a weekend is encouraged to join in the activities “the Fourth Day” Community. The purpose of this community is to give strength and support to each other as we grow in faith and develop our unique gifts of ministry.  

What’s expected of participants?

  • To be open and willing to respond to what you experience, to share your feelings with others, and allow them to share theirs with you.

  • To make a genuine effort to discover where you are and where or how you can grow in your Christian life.

  • To feel secure in the knowledge that you are accepted where you are and as you are, and to know that a specific response is not expected of you.

In the Cursillo Movement, we approach evangelization as a very natural act of being Christ-like within each of our daily activities. We realize that while most people would like to live their lives in a Christ-like manner, the pressures of the world often make this difficult. The Cursillo Movement provides a method and a technique to provide each of us with the tools, the mentality, the strength, and the support to make this natural type of evangelization possible. The Cursillo method endeavors to restore the beauty of the first Christian communities which prompted pagans to say with admiration: “See how they love one another!”

Cursillos in Christianity

In today’s world can Christianity penetrate the many areas of secular life? Can it live there? Can it grow there? Can it transform the world in a way that is more fruitful than the past and in keeping up with the times? The Cursillo Movement thinks so. It proposes no new type of spirituality, but simply a method through which one’s spirituality may be developed, lived and shared in any area of human life where there are Christians willing to dedicate their lives to God in an ongoing manner. The method is introduced by a little course.

Format of the Exercises

 Cursillo (pronounced kur-see-yo) is a Spanish word meaning “little” or “short course.” It begins on a Thursday evening and ends the following Sunday night. During those three days those attending live and work together listening to talks given by priests and laity. They also share the Eucharist and pray together. The titles of the talks indicate their content: Ideal, Habitual Grace, The Layperson in the Church, Actual Grace, Piety, Study, Sacraments, Action, Obstacles to a Life of Grace, Leaders, Study of the Environment, Life in Grace, Christianity in Action, The Cursillista Beyond the Cursillo and Total Security. Each talk is followed by a discussion period

The Fourth Day

Encounter with Christ

The “after” activity of the Cursillo 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 days through the “ultreya” or reunions of the community. These are available weekly as a means of growth in understanding and zeal within the Christian community. Reunions of smaller groups of friends are also available in order for them to encourage one another in spiritual improvement and the Christian apostolate.

The 3-day weekend experience is not an end to itself. It is a starting point that lasts the rest of one’s life. It is a springboard to a long-range practice of the Baptismal Covenant in the life of the church called the 4th Day.

  • The Group Reunion, the heart of Cursillo, is a small group of friends who meet regularly to hold each other accountable for their spiritual journey. A bond develops that institutes a strong support group for life.
  • The Ultreya, which is usually held monthly or quarterly, is a “reunion of reunions.” It provides support and builds community by allowing the sharing of communal experiences.
  • Spiritual Direction is an important element of the Cursillo Movement. It is a commitment to seek out spiritual direction to provide help in deepening one’s union with Christ.
 A Cursillo is an encounter with Christ. That sounds too simple but it’s not. Think about it - a real meeting with Christ. If that is understood then the power, beauty and joy of the Cursillo Movement will be understood. Interested? Attend one!

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 values 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 the 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.

■ What does Cursillo offer?

A simple method to seek and develop a Christian:

 • Spirituality

• Mentality

• Activity


• Community

Cursillos serves to evangelize families, ministries, neighborhoods, work environments and others throught the formation of small Christian communities.

Please call your parish office for information and date of the next Cursillo Weekend.

Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 


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