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 Frequently asked Questions

What is "Cursillo"?

What do some of the unfamiliar words that I hear people use mean?

How can I sponsor a candidate for a Cursillo?

Is Cursillo only for Catholics? 

What happens on a Cursillo Weekend?

What happens after a Cursillo Weekend?

How do I experience a Cursillo?

How do I find a Sponsor?


The purpose of the Cursillo is to make it possible for everyone to live what is fundamental for being a Christian and to empower individuals to become Christian leaders in their own day-to-day environments. It seeks to awaken the spirit of faith in our Catholic community.

Cursillo (pronounced cur-SEE-yo) is a Spanish word meaning “short course.” Everything that is done in terms of the Cursillo methodology and purpose has the so called “Fourth Day” as its end objective. Those wishing to become part of the Cursillo community usually learn about it from other members of the Movement through the friendship of their sponsor (Pre-Cursillo). The next step is to attend a three-day Cursillo weekend, which commences on a Thursday evening and ends on Sunday afternoon. The weekend provides an understanding of basic Christian truths, awakens and strengthens a desire to live the Good News in our environments, and shows a way to continue through Christian formation and fellowship. The weekend includes daily Mass, a series of fifteen talks given by people who have previously made a weekend, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, meditations and good old fashioned Christian fellowship. You will learn, laugh, and possibly cry, but you will never forget these three days. After completing this three-day weekend journey, we begin what we call our “Fourth Day”, which is the rest of our lives.

The Fourth Day is designed to increase and continue the process of progressive conversion and the living out of what is fundamental for being a Christian (a process initiated during the three-day Weekend). The Cursillo Movement has, from the very beginning, taken the responsibility for providing a community for those who become part of the Movement. It is within this community where they will be understood, helped, and motivated to grow and share their Christian life together. Cursillo is able to accomplish this through Friendship Group Reunions and Ultreyas.

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 Since the Cursillo movement originated in Spain, much of the language used in describing elements of the movement use the original Spanish words. The following definitions are offered to help clarify:


Cursillista - A reference to a person who has attended the Cursillo 3 Day Weekend experience.
Fourth Day - Once you’ve complete the 3 Day Weekend, the remainder of your life is often referred to as your Fourth Day.
Group Reunion - A group of Cursillistas, usually from the same parish or area, that meet regularly to share their lives as Christians. At times you may hear a reference to an environmental group reunion. This distinction is given to group reunions held among workers in the same workplace or profession. The intent is the same.
Ultreya - The gathering (normally weekly) of group reunions or those cursillistas looking to join a group. Its purpose is to link the attendees together as a larger community.
Rollo - During the 3 Day Weekend the talks presented to the participants are called Rollos. This is a Spanish term and while presenting occurs a Rollo means more than just an informational presentation. It relies strongly on personal experience and witness.
Decolores- The song titled " De Colores ! " was very popular at the time of the first Cursillo on the island of Mallorca (a beautiful island in the Mediterranean sea where spring is a real enchantment of colours). The song expresses the joy of living and exalts the beauties of creation. It was readily adopted by the first cursillistas as a reflection of their inner feelings. Its popularity carried over from one Cursillo to another and it ended up becoming the theme song of the Movement, even though it was never officially recognized as such.

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Preparing to be a Sponsor


Talk to God about the person before you talk to the person about God.
Most of us come home from an amazing Cursillo, full of enthusiasm, believing everyone we know should make a Cursillo!  What next, we ask?  If a new Cursillista, it's important to balance our enthusiasm with the wisdom and experience of a co-sponsor. 

Sponsorship is not just for the duration of the Cursillo Weekend.  When you sponsor, you are making a commitment to shepherd a candidate.  It's just as important to prepare yourself as it is to prepare your candidate.  Start with prayer.

God calls people to Cursillo; we are His messengers. The criteria from the "Sponsor Boolet" page 15 states: Your candidate is capable of making a difference in their environment (home, workplace etc), interiorly motivated and socially responsible and natural leaders.  Also mentioned on page 17 is that the candidate is eligible for the Sacraments, decision makng independence and able to join a group reunion.   Potential candidates should be mature adults and in good health. Our guide line is between the ages of 21 and 75 years of age.  These ages are a guideline only. Each candidate is considered individually. Most importantly they must believe in God and in His Son, Jesus, because Cursillo is not a conversion experience. Potential candidates do not need to attend church regularly, but it helps if they are open to the idea.  They should be aware that Cursillo is a Sacramental Weekend.  Ask God for guidance and discernment in identifying potential candidates. A list of names is a great idea. Discuss their possibility with your groupies.

Consider what's going on in the lives of potential candidates. Have they experienced the death of a loved one, a divorce, a medical crisis or a period of intense stress within the past year?  These situations should be worked through before attending a Cursillo Weekend. Save these names for a later time.  What type of family support will a candidate need to be able to attend?  Are you able to provide that support?  It could be as simple as house sitting, baby-sitting, caring for pet etc.

When considering a couple for Cursillo, it's customary for the man to attend first.  Cursillo can be a life-changing experience; its impact on the sacrament of marriage should be carefully considered.  Cursillo can strengthen a marriage when both partners attend and this is recommended.  Only one of the spouses attending without the other can have an impact on the marriage because one will grow to a different level with Christ and the excitement of this Cursillo experience would not be shared with the other.   Be wary of sponsoring someone you do not know. If you are not acquainted with your candidate's spouse see if there is another Cursillista that does know them and could serve as their sponsor or co-sponsor with you. Otherwise, take the time to make a friend, be a friend and bring that friend to Christ as their sponsor. Invite the couple to coffee and discuss their beliefs.

Keep praying!  Ask God for the opportunity to speak with a potential candidate and to open their heart to the possibility of attending Cursillo.  Always speak to your Pastor or your candidate's Pastor about their attending a Cursillo before speaking to the candidate. They seem to know things about individuals that you may not know and something that may be an obstacle to them attending a Cursillo. Enlist the help of your brothers and sisters in Christ.  There may be someone better acquainted with the potential candidate who can mention and recommend Cursillo.  Personal contacts are usually best-the telephone is the least effective way to introducing the topic of Cursillo.  Expect that it's going to take some time and repeated exposure to the idea before a person accepts your invitation.  Always go easy; do not nag.  Remember you invite and the Holy Spirit is the one that gets them there.

Get to know your potential candidate; make a friend, be a friend and bring that friend to Christ.  During casual conversation ask if they have ever heard of Cursillo, and give a brief description of its purpose. You may even want to start with the Cursillo flyer and that might be enough for a first exposure to the idea.  Let their response determine your course of action.  Be willing to wait if they need time to think about it. DO NOT PRESSURE them.  Engage in future conversations when you don't even mention Cursillo so that the person doesn't feel Nagged.

KEEP PRAYING!  When you do extend the invitation (after speaking to your or their pastor), don't attempt to control the response. If you receive a "no", respect it. Whatever the outcome, relax. You've done your part by planting the seed.  Remember God is in Control and His timing is best!

Visit our Forms page once you've gotten a candidate for a weekend

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 Is Cursillo only for Catholics?

Considering that the weekend experience incorporates elements of the Catholic faith that are unique to the Catholic practice of Christianity, such as the Sacraments and the Holy Mass, it is recommended for those who subscribe to the Catholic faith. However, a number of denominations have adapted the "Cursillo method" into weekend formats that embrace the traditions of their faith.

Among those are -

Walk to Emmaus - The United Methodist Church

Via De Cristo - Lutheran Church

Tres Dias - Ecumenical / Interdenominational

Cursillo and Pilgrimage - Presbyterian

DeColores of Southeast Michigan - Ecumenical / Interdenominational

Additionally, the Cursillo method is used by ACTS, Alpha, Encounter, Antioch, Search (high school students), Awakening (college students), Cum Christo, Happening, The Journey (United Church of Christ), Kairos Prison Ministry, Kairos (for older teenagers), Gennesaret (for those living with a serious illness), Koinonia, Lamplighter Ministries, Light of Love, Teens Encounter Christ (teen ecumenical), Residents Encounter Christ (REC) (a jail/prison ministry), Unidos en Cristo, Anglican 4th Day (Anglican Adult) and Tres Arroyos (Charismatic Episcopal Church).

A derivative retreat for Catholics is called "Christ Renews His Parish". It is a two-day retreat, normally Saturday and Sunday, and therefore does not qualify for the term "cursillo" meant to apply to a three-day retreat.

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What happens on a Cursillo Weekend?

Cursillo is a 72 hour experience. The weekend begins on Thursday evening and ends on Sunday evening. The participants (called “Candidates”) live and study together in singing, prayer, worship, and discussion. Discussions center on various talks given by laity and clergy. These talks present the theme of God’s grace and how grace comes alive in the Christian community and expresses itself in the world. The Candidates discover how grace is real in their lives, and how they can live in the life of grace, bringing grace to others. There is the opportunity to participate in the daily celebration of Holy Communion and to begin to understand more fully the presence of Christ in His body of believers.
 

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What happens after a Cursillo Weekend?

The objective of Cursillo is to inspire, challenge, and equip candidates for Christian action in their homes, churches, and places of work. One of the primary strengths of Cursillo is the follow-up. Your weekend lasts only three days, but you are invited to build on it for the rest of your life. The Cursillo method includes the means by which the seeds God plants in our lives can grow and bear fruit during the “Fourth Day”, which is the rest of our lives. Each individual who returns from the weekend with a renewed commitment to work for Christ is encouraged to join in the activities of an existing community of persons who have also experienced the weekend. Optional gatherings renew the Cursillo community in a spirit of Christian friendship and support so that the members are further motivated to live and share their faith with others.

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How do I experience a Cursillo?

A person attends a Cursillo Weekend to become a Cursillista (Cursillo Member). Each person participating in the weekend must have a sponsor who is a Cursillista. The sponsor will provide you with information about Cursillo and give you the application form. The sponsor also completes a portion of the application.

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How do I find a Sponsor?

Start within your Parish; ask your priest. If you are unable to locate someone within your parish who has made a Cursillo, come to an Ultreya or contact someone on the Secretariat who can put you in touch with a prospective sponsor

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