A Cursillo Winter Day of Reflection

E. Bonin and the Birth of Cursillo – Claudette Dachowski

Good morning everybody and De Colores!! My name is Claudette, worship at Ste. Marie’s, and lived Cursillo in Nov. 2003, #237.

We are here today as friends who are linked by a common denominator- we are all Cursillistas, and we have the founder of Cursillo de Christianidad (Short Course in Christianity) – E. Bonnin Aguilo, to thank for that.

It is because of his vision and the gift of the charism of the Cursillo Movement by God that millions of Cursillistas around the world are joined by a common belief- the Good News- God Loves Us!

Who is E. Bonnin though? Why is he now being “vetted” for possible sainthood? What has he done that warrants this process going forward for beatification, and hopefully, sainthood?

I don’t think any of us ever met E. Bonnin in person, so I’d like to tell you a bit about him and what he achieved during his life that warrants this investigation for sainthood.

To begin with, Eduardo Bonnin Aguiló was born in Palma de Mallorca on May 4, 1917, the second of 10 children, to Catholic parents who were in the trade and export business of grains and dried fruit.

He was educated by private tutors in the Catholic faith and at La Salle College by Augustinian priests, but Eduardo said that his first professor was his grandfather Jorge, who taught him the love of reading. Eduardo contended that “nothing influenced me more than my obstinate and always growing interest for reading.”

A shy boy/teen, raised in a rather isolated social circle, 1936 brought about a huge reality check for Eduardo. At the age of 19, he entered obligatory military service far from home and realized that the “idealistic ideas” that he found in his books conflicted with the reality of direct contact with the profane/secular people of all social classes and stations in life in his battalion. They were so tight as comrades, but so far away from God and so truly averse to religion (although he found them keeping values gospel values), that he developed a great desire to help them to find happiness and peace in the loving relationship he had found with God. With a great sense of humor and his gift for developing friendships – he made friends with them, and we all know you can talk to a friend about things that you can’t just teach/preach to people! This joyful evangelization, or KERYGMA, is at the heart of the charism of Cursillo- Making friends and bringing them to Christ through your personal and joyful witness.

In 1940, Pope Pius XII wrote an address to parochial pastors which Bonnin read in which the Holy Father encouraged people to find “new roads” to know the love of God, especially those who were “far away.”

This address greatly influenced Bonnin’s personal goals and attitude: Love of God, Friendship, and the Person; especially the Faraway. We must always remember that Jesus said, “I have not come for the healthy, but for the sick; for the sinners, not the righteous…(Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31; Matt. 9:12). The Faraways, thus, became the mission of Bonnin.

After the Civil War in Spain, the Catholic Church regained much of her pre-war suppressed influence and wanted to reignite Spain which had seen a huge waning of religious practice. In 1943, Bonnin participated in the second “Cursillo for Advanced Pilgrims Leaders,” sponsored by the Catholic Action for Youth Movement, the purpose being to lead a spiritual pilgrimage for “100,000 young men in grace” to Santiago de Campostela.

“This short course was one week long. It started with a sort of a closed retreat, in silence. During the week, the priest, spiritual director, gave five sessions, all on the same subject, Grace (to prepare the young men to be in a state of grace for the pilgrimage. Every morning there was a meditation session and sacraments. A layman, named “rector” with a team who presented on the following subjects, amongst others: “prayer, study and action.” Sound familiar? (Originally coined by Pope Pius XI).

Sharing was the most important part of each session. Folk and religious songs were given a great place in setting the atmosphere to be given to the pilgrimage. Groups of ten were formed and each group designated a president and a secretary. A summary of the day was presented in the evening in the form of a “journal on the wall”. This session was very intense for Eduardo Bonnín and was to be the turning point, not only for him but also for the future of our Movement.” (reference- French Speaking Cursillo Movement of Canada)

Although he found the message at this and other gatherings good, he didn’t see that it went far enough (to promote a one-time event vs. a lifestyle makeover). He also found that what was being promoted at the Cursillo for Advanced Pilgrims meetings was not being lived in the de-Christianized environments around him, causing him great turmoil and restlessness. Thus, the evolution of the Cursillo of the Catholic Action, like a caterpillar in a chrysalis, began to morph into the Cursillo de Christianidad Method that would serve as the leaven for the “far away” people and their environments and the revitalization of the environments still close to the Church.”

The first rollo to be written was The Study of the Environments, the foundational rollo of the Cursillo weekend, was presented by Bonnin for the first time at the Diocesan Seminary of Mallorca in 1943. “The Cursillista Beyond the Cursillo” was the second rollo to be developed in 1944, presented at the “School of Propagandists” which integrates his Method into the study. (The Half-TimePep Talk Rollo, I call it-Now you have these tools, what will you do with them? Say I can do it alone or not at all!!!)

The first official 3-Day Cursillo was held in a chalet (Cala Figuera de Santanyi in Mallorca) on August 20-23, 1944, with Bonnin as rector, with 8 of the lay rollos being presented (Ideal and Total Security come later in the 1950’s). Friendship groups continued to meet in the aftermath of the weekend. The second Cursillo was held in 1946 with Bonnin as rector again, with no changes to the outlines- to prove that this was entirely an authentic Cursillo de Christianidad and not a “knock-off” of the Leaders of Pilgrims Cursillo. More Cursillos were held during the next few years, but did not begin to be enumerated until Jan. 7, 1949 as Cursillo #1 w/Bonnin as rector again.

In 1948, the official pilgrimage to Santiago de Campostela finally happened with 70,000 men from all over Europe and South America, including a group of about 600 men from the Island of Mallorca. They each had a small book entitled ““THE PILGRIM’S GUIDE” which in fact contained nothing on Compostela but only short prayers already used during cursillos. The prayers were written in a surprisingly succinct and direct style as opposed to the style of prayer books of that era. They arrived on August 28th, the pope addressed them via radio, the rosary was recited, then midnight Mass. The pilgrimage to Compostela came to a close with Mass by the Cardinal Primate of Spain on August 29, 1948.

50,000 people greeted the returning pilgrims to Mallorca and the Bishop challenged them with the following: “We have been to Campostela to become saints, what next? The once a year Cursillo then became many per month. Cursillo came to the USA via TX when two Spanish airmen on assignment in the USA asked if they could run one. The rest is history for the USA and NH. Cursillos #301 & #302 this Spring at Sarto Ctr. North Country has also been revitalized.

Group Reunions had been held all along, but with the globalization of Cursillo beginning, and more Cursillistas being formed, Bonnin became concerned that the Friendship groups, which had been considered the most essential component of the Post-Cursillo, would dissipate, so the methodology and design of the weekly “Group Reunion” was incorporated and surged almost immediately.

Eduardo Bonnin became a kind of “Johnny Appleseed,” traveling the world to promote Cursillo, fertilizing and leavening those environments in which it has been called to grow. “I do not have a kilometer counter on my feet,” he said many times, but he did travel to China, Brazil, the USA, Costa Rica, Mexico, Fatima, Chile, Bolivia, and Italy, to name just a few stops on the Road to Evangelization…Others have continued to plant the seeds on all 5 continents- a truly apostolic endeavor with the help of the Holy Spirit.

At the end of his life, dedicating it to love of God and people, he said he was content, but not satisfied. He passed into eternal rest on February 6, 2008 and is buried in the atrium of the Capuchin church in …..

His tombstone says it all about his humility- “An Apprentice Christian.” (Read his book by the same title as well as My Spiritual Testament)

On February 5, 2015 – First step in the process of Beatification and Canonization of Eduardo Bonnín Aguiló began.

Don Pep Adrover Vallbona, Chancellor of the Diocese of Mallorca, read the written petition as a first step towards the cause of Beatification of Eduardo Bonnín Aguiló. The announcement took place at the Church of the Capuchins, one day before the 7th anniversary of the death of Eduardo Bonnín and precisely on the day the Women’s Cursillo #162 at Santa Lucia (Mancor). D. Pep Adrover reminded us that we were living a historic moment. He attested that the written petition was presented on behalf of the Mallorcan Diocesan Secretariat and was solicited by the National Secretariat of Portugal (which currently chairs the OMCC), the National Secretariat of Italy, and the National Secretariat of El Salvador.

AS I was reading his work entitled, “Evangelization thru Conversion,” I picked up on some great quotes by him:
 Can a Cursillo wknd achieve conversion for a faraway? The HS can accomplish great things in 3 days! It is 2 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds more than He needs!  But, we need time to hear Him talking to us.
 Conversion is a process that unfolds in stages- Searching, Meeting, and then a series of other steps- Personal relationship with God (Piety) and with other (Friendship).
 WE must make people aware for their long search for happiness, friendship, and love. These are accomplished through essential encounters with Jesus, Others, and Yourself (JOY).
 During the Cursillo itself, we attempt to crystallize the unrest of searching, but with success, we should not think that this person is now a “Christian” and that the job is done. (PostCursilllo- 4th Day).
 WE are all different and will find God in our own way- “I am often amused that while we all sing so heartily the De Colores which speaks of the beauty of the different colors, how often….we really want everyone to be one color- our color- and to arrive there by one way- our way.”
 Post Cursillo is designed to facilitate the nurturing of those 3 essential encounters…so that they grow and develop into true friendship (JOY). To that end, Group Reunion (small group) and Ultreya (larger group) are integral component to continue conversion begun on the weekend.

So, to end, we are grateful for the life of E. Bonnin and the gift he has given to the Church via Cursillo.

Let us end our time together right now with the Prayer for the Beatification of E. Bonnin. (on separate sheet)

1. Evangelization Thru Conversion essay by Bonnin is found on National Cursilllo Home Page:

Cursillo History
3. National Cursillo website page on Bonnin’s biography:

4. On Bonnin’s cause for beatification/sainthood


The Charism of Cursillo: Will you be my friend? – How important is it to make a friend, be a friend and bring your friend to Christ? – Dave Deutsch

 True Friendship, Where Virtue Meets Happiness, by John Cuddeback. When you go on the national site, this book stands out as not an official Cursillo publication
 Lower Your Nets, by Juan Capo Bosch. Required reading for Secretariat members. An excellent discussion about coming down from a Cursillo high, and how, when, and who to invite to a weekend.
 The Fundamental Ideas of the Cursillo Movement
 Study of the Charism

Catholic Encyclopedia: “extraordinary graces given to individual Christians for the good of others.”

Study of the Charism: A gift that proceeds from grace, has a character of public service, and is in service to the Gospel.

The Charism of Cursillo is to live De Colores (filled with grace), giving testimony in the moveable square meter that surrounds us – by the best means – that is friendship.

From FICM, “A special Grace, given by God, that enables and motivates a person to serve in the renewal and building up of the Church”

Or in the words of Eduardo Bonnin, who says almost poetically:

“The Cursillo Movement is to proclaim the best news of the best reality: that God in Christ loves us, Communicated by the best means, that is friendship.”


We have been reminded by Eduardo Bonnin and by Pope John Paul II to stick with our founder’s charism. Bonnin warned in particular about “improvements” that might inadvertently lead us away from our charism.


From “True Friendship”
Aristotle, born 400 years before Christ, reasoned there are three types of friendship; not necessarily bad but are what they are:

Pleasant: party / play / football together

Useful: business, beneficial

First two aren’t primarily concerned for “the other” but for something incidental to our own needs. When we start feeling like we’re not getting what we want or need, we move on. And that’s ok.

3rd type – Virtuous: love the other 1) for their own sake and 2) because of who they are in themselves (not for something incidental to them).

Aristotle noted that, if pressed, one has to admit that what’s truly important in life isn’t pleasure, possessions, power, or prestige, but loving and being loved. And from that, he reasoned true virtuous friendship is both living by that fundamentally true belief, but also lifting up another in the spirit of that belief.

Aristotle: In the extent one fails in virtue, one fails in the ability to have full friendship. That is, it is the virtuous person, and only the virtuous person, who really has the desire and ability to pursue the good of another person.

We all fall short of perfect, but even though imperfect, a DEDICATION TO THE PURSUIT OF VIRTUE OR HOLINESS makes us capable of true friendship.

Aristotle: “But the good man feels towards his friend as toward himself, as his friend is another self.”

We all know people who use the word friend when they really should use the word acquaintance. Facebook friends are by and large not virtuous friends. Even the roommates on the show Friends are not virtuous friends.

It’s similar to the definition of LOVE. A Catholic view gives four definitions of love, culminating in agape. The entertainment industry, and hence many in society, seem to be stuck on eros.

How does one move from pleasant or useful friendship to virtuous friendship? I’d suggest it’s a combination of attraction and risk-taking. Living a life of virtue, planting seeds of faith, yes, but also a sort of vulnerability, a willingness to share where faith is taking you. Of course, it takes two, so never a guarantee. It may take 10 people like you before this person’s heart is touched. You may be number 1 or 2. Ultimately though, it’s entering into virtuous friendship that says this person is ready and willing to grow spiritually.

If this person has no existential despair, no ache for perfect love, beauty, truth…if they’re thinking they’re just fine where they are, fact is your outreach may have no appeal to them whatsoever.

Or maybe your background, interests, or personality just don’t draw this person in.

It takes two, and not every situation will work out.

With friendship part of the original charism, one would expect any kind of analysis of the Movement to find friendship at every turn.

With the focus of Cursillo being Christianizing our environment, with Bonnin’s first Rollo ever being “study of the environment”, that word “environment” gives me pause, and I wondered if the language of environmental politics might have something to say about this. Now I’m not saying global warming is settled science or anything like that, but…

Let’s look at Cursillista, and see if they are perhaps an ENDANGERED SPECIES. We’ll look at their LIFE CYCLE and their BREEDING HABITS.

If you stumble up a Friendship Group Reunion, this is where you’ll definitely find a near 100% concentration of Cursillistas.

This is where they learn to live and share within a Christian community.

This is where they make what is fundamental for being a Christian a permanent characteristic of all its members.

This is a group of friends or soon-to-be friends. If the group doesn’t click for you, official principle of Cursillo is fix it or get out!

The intent is that sharing be honest and deep, and if the relationships don’t work, the group won’t get there.


Three to six members is best. Larger groups work against depth and intimacy, even if only by self-censoring to keep meeting time to a reasonable level. It can also tempt you to skip a meeting, as you might be convinced you wouldn’t be missed. And for new Cursillistas, a large group may communicate to them that they’re living the Charism, when in fact, all they’re getting is superficial sharing.

Honest and deep sharing among friends, or the group ain’t gonna work.

The Christian way of life is NOT SUSTAINABLE when you’re on your own, distracted by the routine of living, and pummeled by society’s anti-Christian messages. The Christianity Christ taught is RELATIONAL, even to being sent out by twos.

So first and foremost, for SURVIVAL OF THE SPECIES, one has to be in a friendship group reunion.


We do this by living and speaking a life of faith. You might say that we’re after a CLIMATE CHANGE.

We interact with people, planting seeds of faith and seeds of friendship.

Not all seeds sprout, and our limits on time and psychic energy prevent us from pursuing every opportunity.

It’s person-to-person dialogue style of evangelization.

It’s in part what Jesus did, with Nicodemus, Zaccheus, the Samaritan woman, and with Simon the Pharisee. Personto-person.

“It’s not acceptable to shirk this task because you feel unqualified or out of your comfort zone. “In Christ, God calls us each by name, personally and unmistakably. He has entrusted a unique task that cannot be substituted for or delegated to someone else.”


The friendship can remain wherever it leads, where your words and actions demonstrate the Christian life.

Sometimes no amount of evidence or witness is enough to get it where you want it to go.

Sometimes a person doesn’t want to submit to Divine Authority, or see no darkness within himself that requires redemption, or rejects a life of love.

You and your friend’s life is forever enhanced by ongoing friendship. It may not lead where you want it to lead, but not a bad thing, and certainly not without hope that your friend someday is led by the Spirit to a deeper faith.


If you haven’t gotten to the point of virtuous friendship, I wouldn’t suggest an invitation to Cursillo.

A sponsor exhibits that virtuous friendship, hoping only the best for their friend.

Often we pick friends for invitations because we want them to have a conversion experience like we did. That’s not a bad thing, but it definitely sets the bar too low. For the SURVIVAL OF THE SPECIES we need people who will be leaders and evangelize their environment.

That statement is pretty much a complete summary of “Lower Your Nets”. Don’t settle for a conversion experience… go for someone with gifts and talents that will lead to evangelizing!


We see agape love extended within the team and to the candidates.

We love candidates for themselves, not for the incidentals.

FICM “Team members open themselves up as friends. Honest friendship is the only path that can lead to genuine openness and effective dialogue.”


On average, we would hope for GLOBAL WARMING, a life leavened by Christian love.

You can see that if the CIRCLE OF LIFE is broken in any way, the Cursillista will not reproduce.

We have a fair amount of INFANT MORTALITY, people who never get into groups, or don’t last in a group.

One reason might be failure of the sponsor to persist in connecting the new Cursillista with a Friendship Group Reunion. That’s a diagnosis that leads to sponsors getting pounded on their responsibilities.

But there’s other possibilities.

Maybe the sponsor hasn’t made clear that the 3-day retreat is meant to lead into ongoing 4th day relationships with friends. I was invited to join a group two months before my scheduled Cursillo, and afterwards, I couldn’t wait to get back to my group and share.

But it may also be your friend was invited prematurely…maybe the friendship hadn’t sufficiently matured; maybe you’ve allowed your hopes or expectations to overshadow the reality.

It should be clear that a mature virtuous friendship is the best platform for accompanying a friend into Cursillo.

Having run out of eco-friendly buzzwords, I’ll begin to close.

My flowsheet wasn’t meant to be scientifically accurate; just a visual prop to support my talk. But when I stepped back and looked at the finished product, something jumped out at me.

RELATIONSHIPS. FRIENDSHIP. There’s no solo actors or lone rangers in this picture.

Privacy, comfort zones, shyness all work against the charism and the purpose of the Movement. And not just the purpose of the Movement, but the final commission of Jesus…”make disciples of all nations”.

In Cursillo, friendship is fundamental to the charism and essence of the movement. Within friendship group reunion, evangelization, the weekend team, the weekend experience, than back into the friendship group reunion with the new candidate…relationships and friendship are central.

God is love, and virtuous friendships are signs of that love and God’s Kingdom on earth.

To close, I’d like to share a short excerpt from the last chapter of “Study of the Charism”, the final words of Eduardo Bonnin’s Spiritual Testament, written in the final days of his life. He says:
“The Cursillo does not aim at getting the best people to become Christians, nor that Christians become better, but that Christians BE Christian. That they understand that being a conscious Christian means being converted at all times. All this so that they gradually get to discover, from the very place where God has planted them, that God loves them in Christ.

In fact, really, for the true Christian, there is just one problem, which is to accept, without being overcome with joy, the grandeur of being so much.”


My name is Sandy Hauser and I worship at Holy Trinity Parish in Plymouth, Ashland & Bristol. I am also the Application coordinator/treasurer for the Secretariat. I lived my Cursillo at the Holy Retreat house in Easton, Mass…#222 in November of 1994.

My talk today is on Sponsorship…not only the understanding of being a sponsor, but the Joy of being one.

As you know sponsorship is one of the main aspects of Pre-Cursillo and the most important factor that contributes to the success of the Cursillo weekend and to the evangelizing mission of the Catholic Church.

What is a sponsor? Well of course a sponsor is a person who has lived a cursillo weekend and has continued on their 4th day with the movement. A person who wants to share with others this beautiful gift that the Lord has given them and want to extend to the people they know and love, a closer contact with Jesus…and so as sponsors we get excited in anticipation of our candidates weekend…but that is not enough…

First, we need to know who we want to share this beautiful movement with. The success of Cursillo is choosing men and woman who are mature, who have humility and the strong desire to know more about Jesus Christ and to share with others the importance of the Gospel. How do we get to know them…well.. You just don’t get to know these people by seeing them at church, or at school, or at work…it takes time…you need time to get to know someone…their feelings…and joys…and sharing with them your enthusiasm, love and joy of the Cursillo movement.

Tell them about the weekend as far music, prayer, Mass, talks, sharing ideas around the table…good food!

Explain about the 4th day…that after the weekend there are reunions for sharing, Ultreyas where people gather for friendship, song, prayer, witnessing.

Just don’t mention Palanca or break-in…Those are surprises of joy for them…

A quick sad story if I may…One of the Candidates who came to me was so excited about Cursillo…he sent in his application a year in advance along with the sponsors application….but a month before the actual weekend, he came in nervous and told me that he would not attend the weekend…that he did not like the fact that his sponsor told him that he HAS to attend Ultreya’s and group reunion. That it was mandatory… and so he said no way…

Be careful when you explain the 4th day…it is their choice and only their choice to attend Ultreya’s or reunions. What gives them a good feeling is that you will assure them that you will go with them together as friends…We are not sponsors to demand…where is the Joy then?

The sponsor makes a friend…yes…but then the actual Joy of sponsorship is growing in friendship and wanting to bring them closer to Jesus Christ by attending with them Ultreya’s and Reunions…and as we all know…in time…they go themselves to different Ultreya’s and group reunions…

I like to tell you a little bit about my beginnings in Cursillo…I had two acquaintances who asked me to go on this weekend. They said it would be good for me…

It was my time…I accepted…we really never discussed it before hand…knew nothing about what was going to happen…but being the curious person that I am…It didn’t matter… for me.

So I did attend and after that weekend… well, it was nice retreat I thought…never really had any follow up… you see my friends just wanted me to attend this weekend…but never did we follow through and so my strength and closeness in Jesus, followed me through my 12 step recovery…but not in the Cursillo movement…and then I was asked to come to a men’s closing with a person very close to Cursillo…and it was that Sunday nite…that I got hit in the head with love again…and I realized…I really need to do more in this Cursillo movement and so I became very close with this woman and I began to participate more in Cursillo…ultreya’s, meetings ( we didn’t call them group reunion then), I did 4th day talks and so it began. Sponsorship…

The lesson that I learn from this… Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ was not only on the weekend, but most important…the fourth day…and so I did…each person I have sponsored in the past…most have continued in ultreya’s and reunions…and I was there with them and sharing their joy.

I wanted to be that authentic witness to others and the joy again was to see them on their 4th day becoming authentic witnesses of the Cursillo movement.

Especially when they would tell me who they were going to sponsor and how excited they were… explaining what the weekend was going to be for their candidate… Seeing them at Group Reunions and Ultreya’s…

Not knowing your candidate…just wanting them to go to this weekend can result in a not to good situation. Being the application coordinator and part of the Secretariat I have experienced through others these situations.

For an example, a few years back, I received an application even though the sponsor stated that she knew her through church activities, she felt that this would be a good thing for her, and the priest had signed it, so I sent the application through…unfortunately…it was not a good weekend for that person and when asked at the closing about her experience on the weekend, the person rambled on and on and on…not putting anything solid together… she never really got the message. She had some serious personal issues, and the sponsor did not know this as she did not know her.

Please remember, the Cursillo movement is about Jesus Christ…

We are not bringing someone to make a Cursillo weekend… we are bringing someone to live the Cursillo weekend so on their fourth day, in their life and environment, they may continue to live as an authentic Christian witness to all that they are in contact with.

Then the Joy of sponsorship will increase each time we see our Cursillista participate and grow in the love of Christ…and so important is to be able watch them make a friend, be a friend, and bring a friend to Christ sharing their 4th day with their Cursillista…and so it goes…

As Pope Francis has said, we are called…called to go further…to go ahead…to be courageous…be joyous and attentive to commit to others what we have received. This can only be done through friendship…through the joy of sponsorship by sharing our relationship with Jesus to others…

Before our question and answer time… I would like to pass out the sponsors application/duties/guidelines…
Please look these over…as you can see many of the questions and guidelines refer to how well you know your candidate…what you as a sponsor is ask to do…

Also is your sponsor booklet…pick one up before you sponsor…it truly gives you lots of insight.

Please remember to be aware of the needs of your candidate…to be there for them before, during, and after the Cursillo weekend…Give yourself this joyous gift of sponsorship!


Understanding the Role of the Team Member or Understanding the Weekend – John Wentworth

I think the better title is the second. If you understand the weekend better, you understand the role of a team member better.

A leader in the Cursillo Movement is a total leader; his or her leadership is not restricted to being on teams for weekends. Rather, he or she is someone who is involved in the whole work of the movement, the precursillo as well as the postcusillo. Involved means making it happen. The Cursillo leader is called to serve the movement in each of its phases: precursillo, 3 day Cursillo and the posrcusillo. This is done primarily through personal contact with persons in the precursillo, participants (candidates) in the weekend and cursillistas in the fourth day.

The role of the leader is to give a witness that is exemplary in terms of living in grace and using the Cursillo method. He or she is not a technician, an organizer or a speaker as much as a person who lives the Christian life to the fullest and takes every opportunity to share it with others.

(“The Cursillo Weekend is above all a living experience of what is fundamental for being a Christian” (Structure of Ideas). The friendship and love of God in Jesus Christ is the center of what is fundamental for being Christian and, in the Cursillo Weekend, friendship continues to be the best method to transmit His friendship and love to all the new Cursillistas. It always comes back to Make a Friend, Be a Friend, Bring a Friend To Christ)

Yes, we must understand the weekend, and the Cursillo method, but first and foremost, we need to understand that absolutely nothing happens in total effectiveness, without Palanca, without prayers and sacrifices from many different people. So as soon as the “Next Cursillo Weekend” is mentioned, especially if we are to serve in any role on the Cursillo, from our established friendship with many different people, we should immediately start asking for prayers and sacrifices for the apostolic success of the Weekend. The more true friends we have, the more sincere and authentic palancas will be offered.
So about knowing the role of a team member;

As stated earlier, team members/Cursillo leaders are involved in all phases of the movement. The team should be aware that if we are to continue, and more importantly, to intensify the friendships that were started in the Precursillo, we need to prepare ourselves intellectually in regards to the Foundational Charism during the School of Leaders’ sessions and spiritually during the retreats. A team member cannot truly or effectively give what he doesn’t have.

From FICM, “Before becoming a team member, every leader should have been given adequate long term formation in the School of Leaders; as a rule, allowing for exceptions in certain cases, only members of the School should be called upon to participate in a Cursillo.”

Keep it simple. Don’t try to reinvent Cursillo.

The Foundational Charism of Cursillo already has everything that it needs and the team members do not need to worry about adding non-essential elements and/or inventing anything to enhance the work of the Holy Spirit. If we maintain the simplicity of the Cursillo Weekend, the end result will be a more effective and grace-filled Weekend.

Preparation of the team (It takes prep work)
Pope Paul VI:
“Careful preparation is essential for all workers in the field of evangelization, and it is especially necessary for those who devote themselves to the ministry of the Word…If this preparation is taken seriously, it will not only develop their self-confidence, but will also serve to increase their zeal to preach Jesus Christ in our times.”

LM: Team Formation
It is not sufficient that the team members be living the lifestyle of Cursillo. They must be doing so with each other. The main purpose of team formation is the building of this particular Christian community that has been called by God to witness to this particular group of candidates (whom He has chosen). This can be achieved in no other way than the team spending time together sharing their Christian lives prior to the Cursillo in small group reunion. All are one: a small community, a sign of faith, of hope, and of charity. Within the Cursillo the team is the Church made visible, as it goes about accomplishing the mission of the universal Church.

The team members should (also) be aware of their talents, possibilities and limitations, so that in true friendship, they will help one another during team formation and therefore, give witness to “Christianity in Action” and fidelity to the Foundational Charism. And most of all, leaders pray together, study together and prepare together, in a way that the team grows spiritually and gives witness to the unconditional friendship that continues in the Cursillo Weekend phase from the first moment when the team members meet the candidates.

Within the team of leaders are gathered priests, religious, and lay people, in perfect harmony and complementarity. They find common ground in the Cursillo; while they have different services to offer, there is among them a unity of mission. For all to come together and truly constitute a team of leaders, there must be a unity of minds, wills, and hearts, a common vision of the whole panorama of the Cursillo.

There are no categories on the team, only different functions. This includes all who serve in conducting the weekend; the speakers, the auxiliaries, anyone in any capacity, all carrying out their respective services in humility. To become a Rector or serve in any position on team should not be the goal of any of the leaders; rather it should be looked upon as a burden involving greater responsibility. Some team members proclaim the message by giving talks, but all should proclaim it with their lives.

Cursillo teaches us that it is quite logical that Cursillo leaders should be present on a weekend made by a number of candidates they have prepared in the precursillo. The best sponsor is a member of the team. Repeat. In this way, the same leaders who have selected and prepared candidates continue the conversion process, resulting in a faster creation of the Christian community.

The Foundational Charism is Kerygmatic and is jubilantly proclaimed, not so much by the preaching, but by the living witness of the leaders. All 15 rollos of the Cursillo Weekend have two distinctive parts; the message of the rollo and the life of the Rollista. All the Team members, Lay and Clergy, need to know, believe and live what they proclaim.

So what is the purpose of all the rollos and meditations?
It’s all about the base.
A Cursillo is, in the first place, the exposition of a doctrinal message. It presupposes and demands a doctrinal structure, a sold dogmatic base, which will become the foundation of clear and profound religious conviction. From this will come a solid Christian life imbued with theological truth.

The proclamation of the message should be done without arrogance or false humility. It should be done with simplicity and authenticity, witnessing a life bold enough to inspire imitation, yet expressed with true humility, giving glory to God.

The talks are to be the joyful proclamation, not of academic and sterile truth, but of truth which has been tried in the lives of the speakers and found valid–dynamic truth. All the talks, whether given by priests, deacons or the laity, should be both doctrinally sound and provide living witness.

The Cursillo leader, an instrument in the hands of the Holy Spirit, is the principal agent of evangelization…The most basic attitude of the evangelizer must be the interior falling on one’s knees, a deep sense of humility, and awareness that one is merely an instrument at the discretion of the Holy Spirit….Those who are in any way active in the Cursillo can aspire to nothing more.

The word of the evangelizers in a Cursillo should be born of life, of sincerity, of confidence, of values and boldness, of splendor, of joy, and finally full of hope. It is advisable therefore for the leaders to consider these words from Pope Paul XI as being addressed to them: “Do you truly believe what you proclaim? Do you live what you believe? Do you truly preach what you live?

Although the talks are not everything in the Cursillo, they are absolutely essential because they contain the doctrinal message of Cursillo. Their content outlines what is fundamental for being a Christian.

They are synchronized; each is a necessary part within the whole of the Cursillo. The leaders should be familiar with all the talks, (that’s the lay talks, the spiritual talks and meditations) and have a total vision of the message and know the basic message of the outline of each talk, so that each talk may serve its proper role. Through these talks, we are attempting to give what is necessary to encourage a personal conversion with Christ.

Thursday evening includes two meditations and the Retreat phase. Do not take this part of the weekend too lightly. It’s more than simply coming together and meeting each other.

Think about those questions from the meditations; Who am I? Where am I going? Which son (Prodigal Son) are we most Like? The meditations and the retreat phase are a time of reflection for the candidates (and the team), and a lead-in to the first rollo, Ideal.

The talks should present the Gospel in such a way that they clearly hear the call to take a new attitude toward their lives.
There are several interrelationships among the talks, each illuminating a different aspect of the progression, but the basic progression is by days. The first day tells the Cursillistas what they have to be; the second tells them what they must do; and the third tells them what they must have and how they must act.

The first day of the Cursillo is a presentation of the life of grace, that which is fundamental for the Christian life, the direction of one’s whole to God. The message of the first day is the basis for the rest of the Cursillo.
No pressure, Ideal Rollista.
The idea is to not say too much.
The talks are only meant to present the idea of living the Christian ideal of the life of grace. (Encounter with self) The message of the first day is: accept the Christian ideal.

The talks sketch the Christian life from the angle of living grace, but what is said is very general, and not very challenging. Bishop Juan Hervas (one of the original Cursillistas) says in his Leaders Manual, “It is not a question of challenging the attitude of the Cursillista directly, but of presenting him a much more worthwhile ideology, a “value” much more sublime which, by its intrinsic power, will displace the standards, perhaps not so Christian, which he has upheld until now.”

The talks of the first day are low-key. The manner should, above all, aim at clarity, naturalness and conviction. The Cursillista should be told clearly what a great thing he is called to. He should not directly be urged to it. The ideas are illustrated by stories, comparisons and incidents which make the points clearer. But they are not illustrated by experiences which show how something can be done, and which, because of their immediacy and the way they are addressed to the Cursillistas, urge them to take any specific actions. This low key approach ends with the reading of palanca letters and the Piety talk. These are the two shocks of the first day when the candidate is brought up short, and made to realize that he is going to have to respond in a way he never has before. The Piety talk uses a more powerful living testimony than the earlier talks.

“Piety” presents the picture of a person who is truly growing in holiness, of how he came to realize what piety involves and of what a difference this increased love of God and man has made in his life. Again the “how to do it” is only sketched in broadly, and its development waits for the second day.

Piety is intended to provide a summary of the first day by showing a life which is dedicated to living the life of grace fully and unreservedly, and it is the very force of the picture that produces the challenge for the Cursillsta.

I served on team in Gorham a couple years ago, and the Piety Rollista accomplished exactly this in a beautiful Rollo. The talk was low-key to an extent, but the witness was most effective in bringing about the intended results. I could see it in the faces of the candidates.

The whole of the second day is a presentation of the life of grace and of true piety, like the first day, but on a different level. While echoing the message of the first day, it patiently explains how it is done. It explains what each person must do to form himself in the Christian ideal–to become more Christian. It explains what each person must do to become a leader for Christ. At the end of each talk, the Cursillista should be able to say that he knows something he should be doing which he may not have been doing before, and he should have some idea of how to do it.

The talks of the second day have a definite style. For the most part they indirectly explain the Cursillo method, still with a slightly restrained manner. The inspiring talk of the day is not “Action”, as many would think, but “Leaders”, where the whole of the day is summed up in a moving way. This talk differs in style from the preceding ones. It is intended to inspire, to stress what people can do who are forming themselves according to the method given during the day.

“Leaders” should present the picture of the person who is putting all he has into being a Christian, and it should reveal the success a person can have. All the talks on the second day should focus on the individual Christian and his or her individual relationship with Christ. (Encounter with Christ)
On the second day, the focus is primarily individual and personal. All the talks and examples should focus on the individual Christian and his or her relationship with Christ and other individuals.

The third day is an explanation of what is involved in being a Christian leader, an apostle of Christ, a person who lives a life of grace fully and unreservedly in the modern world. It does not focus on the individual as much as on his presence in the world and his relations with other Christians. (Encounter with others) It stresses particularly how he must work with other Christians in a Christian community in action.

Where the first and second days do not present anything unique to Cursillo, the third day presents a method, the Cursillo method. Each talk, therefore, presents its part of that method. The instructions to the candidates should therefore be given as carefully and clearly as possible.

The third day provides a vision and that vision explains a method. The vision is of a team of leaders within the Church who are really making a difference . At the end of the day, each person will have a picture of what it means to have a Christian community in action, and will know that there is a successful one that they can become a part of.

The final three talks of the day are more stirring and enthusiastic. They are stronger, more urgent, more confident and triumphant. They should have the tone of talks written in the light of the Resurrection, written after having seen the victory of Christ. He is risen, He has overcome the world, and He is present in His Church, still overcoming the world.

The examples used during the third day are predominantly examples of a community working together, or of an individual in a community. While illustrating the points, they should provide a glimpse into a real Christian community in action, a handful of determined, enthusiastic, dedicated men and women who group themselves about Jesus Christ with the aim of spreading the Christian ideal, and translating it into works. At the end of the day, no Cursillista should doubt that what is said is possible and is already being done.

We often have a tendency to think that our Rollo is our big responsibility of the weekend (I recall that morning when on team for the first time I was first assigned a Rollo), but I remind you that our full presence at the table as a part of a community is the most important part.

The Rollos are only the framework or a catalyst for building Christian community and extending the kingdom of God. We do our best with the Rollo before the weekend, and then surrender ourselves to the needs of this community-to-be, and to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Repeat.

Personal Contact: Living together and dialoguing. The Cursillo leader should be like a red tee shirt in a load of white laundry.

Among the principal functions of each team member is an openness to living together with, and dialoguing with, each Cursillista. The Cursillo involves an experience of shared living, such that the team leaders open themselves up as friends, without trying either directly or indirectly to find out the spiritual condition of the Cursillista. Honest friendship is the only path that can lead to genuine openness and effective dialogue. Technique here is a blend of opportunity, delicacy, tact, and an apostolic spirit.

This work begins on Thursday evening when the candidates arrive. The team members are expected to mingle with and begin to get to know the new arrivals, especially those not known by the individual team members.

The “corridor work” of personal dialogue has a different focus for each of the three days. On the first day, the goal is to get better acquainted with the Cursillistas; on the second, to free them of any prejudice against the proclaimed truth, by showing how it relates to their individual circumstances; and on the third, to help them plan their re-entry into their respective environments.

This person to person style of evangelization is, without any detriment to the validity and importance of collective proclamation, endorsed by Pope Paul VI’s Evanglelii Nuntiandi. “Communication of the Gospel from person to person must be encouraged and esteemed. This is the method which our Lord Himself constantly employed as we see in His discussions with Nicodemus, with Zaccheus, with the Samaritan women, and with Simon the Pharisee. It is the method employed by the Apostles.

It may indeed be said that the only true form of evangelization is that by which the individual communicates to another those truths of which he or she is personally convinced by faith. Repeat. We must not allow the necessity of proclaiming the Good News to the multitude to make us neglect the method by which the personal conscience of the individual is touched by some inspiring words which he or she hears from another.”

And it is not acceptable to shirk this task on the grounds that one lacks the talent, intelligence, or competence for it. Christifideles Laici (John Paul II)has the answer to this objection: “In Christ, God calls each of us by name, personally and unmistakably.” To each layperson, ” He has entrusted a unique task that cannot be substituted for or delegated to someone else.”

In summary, Cursillo leaders:
Accept in all simplicity the trust that the Church has placed in them, and commit themselves to being transparent signs of the truth they are proclaiming.
Are conscious of having been chosen to be agents of change, in order to hasten the hour of the Lord for each Cursillista, with due respect for the freedom of each.
Are willing to let themselves be possessed and energized by the Word that they must in some way proclaim.
Know it is their responsibility to search long and hard for the best ways and the right words to get at the root of whatever problems each Cursillista may be experiencing.
Find their strength in frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament, where prayer makes itself the weakness of God.
Relay on the help of the Holy Spirit, and
Understand that their whole role can be reduced to one word; service.

It takes a dose of Holy Audacity to be a team member and Cursillo leader.

The Role of the team member on the weekend (and before)

Before the Cursillo. Sleep!


Let the Rollo Flow – Deacon Geoff Ashman

An Invitation to Grace, and Our Response to it:
The 15 Rollos and The 5 Meditations

Thursday Night: The Preparation/ Retreat Phase begins (A time of silence)

Meditation #1 “Know Yourself”

Create relaxing atmosphere
Be open to the Holy Spirit
Stop worrying
Trust in God
Imagine a quiet place, perhaps in nature, water, a shade tree to lie under
Ask yourself these questions:
Who am I? Where am I going? What is my life all about?

Luke 10:38-42 Martha and Mary Are we a Mary or a Martha???

If we are honest with ourselves, we will discover who we really are.
(This hints at determining what our Ideal is.)
Know our strengths and weaknesses. Be open to God’s Graces to further develop the strengths, and minimize or eliminate the weaknesses.

Meditation #2 “The Prodigal Son”

Luke 15: 11-32 The Parable Which son (or the loving father) are we most like?

The story is of a loving father and his two sons. The focus of the meditation is the
Mercy of the loving father/ the mercy of God.
Sin leads to misery.
Humans tend to be self-centered, rather than others-centered or Christ-centered. The more self-centered we are, the more miserable we are likely to be.
How far have we fallen?
Humility, reconciliation with God, mercy, hope, hints at the need for conversion. Do we want to return to the loving father? He’s waiting for us.

Friday Morning: The Proclamation Phase begins.

Meditation #3 “The Three Glances of Christ”

What is being proclaimed? A loving invitation to become a fully Christian Human Being. (Drafted into military, sentenced to prison, subpoenaed to appear in court)

How can we respond to this invitation? Ignore it, say “No”, or say “Yes”

The Rich Young Man – he went away sad because he had many possessions.

Judas – he said the ultimate “No” by taking his own life.

Peter – he very humbly, yet hesitatingly, accepted the invitation.

God is more concerned with our availability, than with our ability. He will form us into who He needs us to be. For now, He just needs our cooperation, our openness to receiving His transforming Grace.

Each time Jesus glances at the Rich Young Man/ Judas/ Peter/ Us He does so lovingly. But with His desire to change our hearts. Max Lucado book quote: “Jesus loves us just the way we are, but He refuses to leave us that way.”

Lay Rollo: Ideal: An invitation to become fully human. Humans have intellect, will, and self-determination. We are able to establish goals and then have the drive to achieve them. Our lives have purpose and meaning. Our Ideal is what we are striving for – whether we know what our Ideal is or not.

Rollo ends with the question: What is your Ideal? (And distribution of Activity Sheet.)

Spiritual Rollo: Habitual Grace: An invitation to a new relationship with God. Grace is a living encounter with God. Habitual Grace is infused within us and is “permanent” until we sin/ fall out of a “state of grace”. But can be restored. Habitual Grace/ Sanctifying Grace resides within our soul.

OT is full of examples of God calling His people into a covenant relationship with Him/ prophets calling God’s people BACK into a covenant relationship with Him.

Nicodemus example. His 3 encounters with Christ.

Lay Rollo: Layperson in the Church: An invitation to be part of a Christian Community. A personal call from God to assist in the Apostolic Mission of Jesus Christ. Church of the Nativity, basis of the book “Rebuilt”, Mission Statement:

Love God.
Love others.
Make disciples.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…Love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 22.37,39

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Matthew 28.19-20

Spiritual Rollo: Actual Grace (Used to be called Faith): Our response to God.
God is more concerned with our availability, than with our ability. God enables us – through Actual Grace – to become who He made us to be. Actual Grace acts on the soul from the outside: a “Divine Push”, a “Holy Nudge”.

Palanca is introduced during this Rollo.

Lay Rollo: Piety: A summary Rollo, with a strong personal witness. Is what we’ve been talking about so far, even possible? A call for Metanoia/ change in mentality. Ebenezer Scrooge Example.

Becoming the person God made us to be. A real example of what we’ve been talking about all day long. Holiness: directing our whole lives to God. To be Holy is to be set apart.

Piety is a journey/ first leg of the tripod.

Opportunity for Reconciliation Friday night.

Saturday Morning: The Conversion Phase begins/ Encountering Christ

Meditation #4 The Person of Christ

How do I encounter Jesus Christ?
Jesus fully human/ fully divine. Like us in all things but sin.
Jesus is the ultimate solution to the mysteries of life. The solution to all of the world’s (and our) problems.

Philippians 2: 2, 5-11 Plea for Unity and Humility

Put on the mind of Christ.

Lay Rollo: Study: The journey continues/ 2nd leg of the tripod/ this takes perseverance and discipline. Learning, growing into becoming a fully Christian human being. Studying ourselves, studying God, and our relationship with Him. Discovering what God wants for us/ His hopes and dreams for us. A search for Truth. Formation involves being formed into a new creation.

Not just an intellectual exercise to learn “about”, but to learn how to become the person God made us to be.

Spiritual Rollo: Sacraments:
Definition: A sacrament is a sign (visible and invisible element), that is holy (directly connected with God, signifies Grace) and effective (brings about what it signifies – actually communicates Grace).
Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, 1st Eucharist
Vocation: Marriage, Holy Orders
Healing: Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick

Lay Rollo: Action: 3rd leg of the tripod. Faith without works is dead. James 2:14-18 Our response to the world to God’s invitation to become an authentic fully Christian human being. The focus is on Christian Love and our relationships with others.

To paraphrase Matthew’s Gospel a little, We are to love God with our whole heart (piety), with our whole mind (study), and with our whole soul and strength (action).

And to love our neighbor as ourselves – Make a friend, be a friend, bring your friend to Christ. Always remember to talk to God about your friend, before talking to your friend about God.

Apostolic Action – we aren’t just disciples any more, we are apostles, we are sent.

Spiritual Rollo: Obstacles to a Life of Grace: Very practical Rollo. How to overcome sin, develop a sense of accountability. We all fall, saints keep getting back up. The devil knows which buttons he needs to punch to tempt us. Reconciliation/ prayer/ Spiritual Direction/ Christian Community all help us avoid or recover from these obstacles.

Lay Rollo: Leaders: Leaders influence others. We are either influencing our environments or they are influencing us. We are to become like Christ. A summary Rollo, with a strong personal witness. A real example of what we’ve been talking about all along.

A Leader prayers as if everything depends upon God, and works as if everything depends upon them. Leaders show initiative, are living witnesses to the world. Christian Leaders have authentic Christian Ideals and are practicing Piety, Study, and Action in order to bring others to Christ.

Sunday Morning: The Reinsertion Phase begins/ Encountering Others

Meditation #5 “Christ’s Message to the Cursillista”

Sunday of Cursillo is what makes Cursillo, Cursillo.
Sunday prepares us for our 4th Day – the rest of our lives.
We’ve been on a journey together this weekend.
We have changed, the world we left behind has not.

Matthew 28: 16-20 The Great Commission: said 2000 years ago, 5000 miles away but still just as true today as ever.

Oneness with Christ/ Oneness with one another.
It’s about being, not joining.
Disciples (followers) versus Apostles (we are sent).
Called to bear fruit.
All for the Glory of God.

Lay Rollo: Study of the Environment: First environment we need to evangelize, is ourselves. Move out slowly from there: family, friends, neighbors, work-place, community. Always on the look-out for opportunities to re-Christianize the environment. Small ways that can build into major changes. Practice humility at all times though. “How was your Christmas? Example – tell people you went to church!

Spiritual Rollo: Life in Grace: Preparing us for the 4th Day. Introduce Service Sheet/ Accountability. An invitation to make a commitment to a program of Piety, Study, and Action. Conversion is an on-going process. Progressive Conversion from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness.

Lay Rollo: Christianity in Action: Faith without works is dead. Can’t be a Christian alone. The importance of Christian Community, the need for Christian Community. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Encouragement from others in the community help us with perseverance. A living witness to the world of working together in harmony. Picking each other up when we fall.

1st Century example of the early Church in Acts of the Apostles. Living and spreading the Gospel message together.

Lay Rollo: Cursillista Beyond the Cursillo: A summary Rollo, with a strong personal witness given joyfully and enthusiastically. We don’t need any more luke-warm Christians.

How to be this fully Christian person back in our old environments. How to live a “perennial Cursillo”. A real example of what we’ve been talking about all weekend long. Stresses the importance of the 4th Day. Cursillo is not just some weekend experience, it is to be lived in perpetuity.

The Piety, Study, Action journey isn‘t a “one and done”, but is repeated over and over throughout the rest of our lives.

Lay Rollo: Total Security: Group Reunion and Ultreya is “officially” introduced/ reinforced one last time.

Assure everyone/ give them the sense of Security that they will not be left on their own as they begin their 4th Day. That’s why they have a sponsor, that’s why we have Group Reunion and Ultreya. That’s why they get introduced to the Cursillo Community at the Closing. Role play Group Reunion helps everyone to understand just exactly what it is. Most important part/ heart and soul of an Ultreya is the Group Reunion. Small friendship groups make living a perpetual Cursillo possible.

Closing: Key moments: Introduction to the 4th Day Community. 4th Day Witness speaker ties the Cursillo Week-end phase of Cursillo to the 4th Day phase of Cursillo. Puts a name and a face to the 4th day Community. An invitation to be an active part of the 4th Day Community, an invitation to Group Reunions and Ultreyas.

All three phases of Cursillo involve invitations. God is waiting for our response.


Keeping the 4th Day Alive: The Art of Grouping – Jim Fortin

Good Morning,
I would like to begin this session, the way my small group and I begin our gathering every Saturday Morning, and that is with the Prayer to the Holy Spirit.

A couple weeks, or a month ago or so, every TV in our house was having problems; the signal was not getting through the cable wires, which resulted in the picture being either broken up, frozen, pixilized, and the sound cutting in and out. I’m not too smart when it comes to this kind of stuff, so I pulled the power to the modem and the router, of course that only affected my computers and not the TV. Hmm, so my next move was to disconnect the wires at the source, and then reconnect them. Valla – magic! I’m reconnected, and each TV has a clear picture. So, why did I share that stupid challenge in my life? Well I hope today is a chance for each of us to first disconnect from the outside world, a world that pulls us towards our vices, and then plug back into the Source of Cursillo, which is one of the things that calls us towards virtues. Not only that, but if we take it a step further, for some of us, today may be a day to truly reconnect and plug back into THE SOURCE of all being – The One who calls us to holiness and sainthood.

This Day of Reflection is covering many topics, and they really all do connect to one another, just as Sponsorship builds the Cursillo Weekend, which builds Small Groups ,Ultreyas, and School of Leaders, which leads to Team Formation, and Volunteering behind the scenes. It is all so interconnected, but for now, I am going to focus on Keeping the 4th Day Alive and The Art of Grouping.

Before I do that, I need to ask a few questions:

Who here is Small Grouping? Great, How often?

Attending Ultreyas?

Attending School of Leaders workshops?

I need to make an observation, and I’m sure you have seen this, but every time Father allows us to do a “Pulpit Talk” about Cursillo, at the announcements time before Mass ends, I will ask those that have made a Cursillo to please stand. Quite frankly, I am usually amazed at the number of people that have made a Cursillo, but I either don’t know the folks, or they are not active. And that is a shame. So, my question is instead of the song by Peter, Paul, and Mary of Where have all the Flowers Gone, it is Where have all the Cursillestas Gone? My guess is Far, Far Away! And that means the chain, link, cycle is broken somewhere, and my guess is it is with the Small Group experience or lack there of!

So, I am going to just share my Small Group Experience. I am not going to say that this is the way you should do things or not, but I have been grouping, pretty much weekly since my Cursillo almost 9 years ago. Really, that is nothing, I group with a gentleman/ brother who lived his Cursillo back in 1976. Anyway, we meet in the kitchen of our old Church Rectory, which is now our Parish Learning Center. The rectory is attached to the Church. Before we begin, each one of us will go out and visit Jesus in the Tabernacle. Each week we rotate who is responsible for hosting, that means we rotate who will open the Rectory, make coffee, bring some pastries, set up and clean up. We gather, we have a bottle of Holy Water and we each bless ourselves. We have a candle in the middle of the table, and we also have a crucifix. The host is responsible for opening with prayer followed by the Prayer to the Holy Spirit. The host then holds the crucifix and begins to share his Piety walk with Christ this past week. His sharing is done pretty much uninterrupted. This is done out of respect and without judgement as we are each on this pilgrim’s journey and it is our journey and no one else’s. After he is done, if someone has a comment or concern, they ask if they can comment. Only after given permission do we comment. We then pass the crucifix to the next person for his sharing and so on until we complete Piety, Study, and Action. We have at least one gentleman who has commented more than a few times, where he says: “This is the one place I know I can come each week and feel accepted.” This environment, format, the fact that we meet weekly, and the relationships we have built as brothers in Christ is what keeps me returning each week.

My wife and I, and about a twelve other folks are taking an Apologetics Course called: Mary, A Biblical Walk with The Blessed Mother. This week we discussed the account of “The Finding of Jesus in the Temple.” We have all read and heard this account several times. If you are like me, there may have been a little bit of judgmental stuff going on, like, really, “how did Mary and Joseph lose Jesus?” The narrator then asked us a question: Have you ever lost Jesus? Oh, convicted? Yes! How about You? So, what happens when you lose Jesus? Do you continue on the path you are on, or stop and start the search immediately to find Him? I am sure that if we are to each answer that question, we would say both. At times we realize we are really off track and need to convert and immediately start to look for Him. Also, there are times when we probably each can say that we just continued down the wrong path and didn’t go looking for Him. You see, that is one of the other things that keeps me coming back to my Small Group each week – When I lose Jesus, they are not only a reminder, but also help me find my way back.

So, here we are, pretty much at the beginning of a New Year. I used to have this mentor who would ask: “so what are your plans for this next year? What is going to be different? I’ll add questions like: “How are we going to increase Sponsorship, Small Groups, and Ultreyas? You know the saying: If you keep doing the same things over and over, you will get the same results. So, what can we do different in 2017? Well, I would like to share with you excerpts of an article by Roy Lessin that I recently read titled: Receiving What God Has For You in 2017.

“Even though we don’t know exactly what is ahead in the coming year, here are some redemptive ways we can move forward and fulfill what God has for us.

Enter the New Year free of any spiritual baggage. The first thing is to let go of the baggage of the past. Release your grip upon any old hurts, wounds, or disappointments. They can bring with them the weights of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. These are the things that your soul can not afford to lug around for another year.

The next thing is to not pick up the baggage of the future. God does not want you weighed down with cares, anxiety, and worry. Live each day, moment by moment, in the sufficiency of His grace, and trust Him in all things for tomorrow’s needs.

With hands free to receive what God has for you, focus your faith on these five things:

1. Be Available:
be a vessel for honor, sanctified [set apart for a special purpose and], useful to the Master, prepared for every good work 2 Timothy 2:21 AMP

Be a yielded vessel available for everyday use, occasional use, or to be set aside for special occasions. The Potter who formed you, knows best how to use you…and when!

2. Be Dependent:

Not that we are sufficiently qualified in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency and qualifications come from God. 2 Corinthians 3:5 AMP

Be assured that you are totally in need of Him to be who He has called you to be, and to do what He asks you to do. Lean into His adequacy, life, and strength with 100 percent of your heart…that’s what thriving branches do when they’re in the vine.

3. Be Faithful:

Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2 NKJV (We are all called to be “Stewards of the Faith”)
Choose obedience over sacrifice. This one challenges me.

4. Be Grateful:

“Peace, peace, to him who is far away [both Jew and Gentile] and to him who is near!

Live in the atmosphere of thankfulness…it’s one of the healthiest ways to live.

5. Be Confident:

The Lord knows those who are His…

The Lord knows your name… You are no stranger to the Lord. God knows every detail of your life, and every need you face. Daily, you have His undivided attention.

The Lord knows your heart… He understands where you are coming from…He knows your intentions, and motivations…He knows your deepest desires and quietest prayers.

The Lord knows your location You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! Psalm 139:4-7 NLT

God’s angels know where to find you! There is no “prayer mail” being rejected by heaven’s post office because your present address is unknown and the answers are undeliverable. God looks over you…you will never be forsaken or forgotten.

The Lord knows your calling… You are God’s appointed servant. He knows how He has gifted and equipped you. He knows all He will do for you both now and in the future. He didn’t make a mistake regarding His giftings and His call upon your life, and He will never confuse you with someone else. Stay under the rest and strength of His yoke…He has chosen the field where He wants you to work.

Finally, let me end with this: The other day, I was listening to my car radio, and I was listening to a Christian Station. Dr. David Jeramiah was talking about the story and person of Caleb in the Bible. The real short of the story goes like this: Caleb was a man of about 40 or 45 years of age, around about the time of Moses. Moses had sent out a number of scouts to check out the Land God promised to His chosen people, the Israelites. The scouts came back and reported to Moses basically this message: Nope, can’t do it! It is dangerous over there, and besides, there are Giants over there. There is just no way. Moses later then sent out Joshua and Caleb. They came back with a different message. Basically, “We can do this, You should see the Land. It is a Land flowing with milk and honey.” So, what happened? In all probability, they saw the same things, but why the difference in assessment and perspective?

Numbers 14:6-9

“The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”

Caleb assessed things from the point of view of God promised and He will deliver. Caleb put God into the equation. Do we?

When I forget to put God into the equation, my brothers in my small group make no bones about reminding me. In 2017, let us be and become the vessels God calls us to be, and may he help us to be more open this year to Make A Friend, Be a Friend, and Bring a Friend to Christ.

May God’s Peace and Blessings be upon you and your loved ones.


Singing is Praying Twice – Rob Dachowski

Today’s Discussion:

  • What is the role of music and singing in praising God?
  • How does music enhance the Cursillo experience

Why is music / singing important for praise and worship?

  • God commanded it
    • “Sing praise, play music; proclaim all his wondrous deeds.” (1 Chronicles 16:9)
  • Jesus sang…
    • Last Supper: “Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the mount of olives” (Matt 23:30)
  • The angels constantly sing praise and worship to God…
    • “Day and night they do not stop exclaiming: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty who was, and who is, and who is to come.” (Rev 4:8)
  • King David sang and praised God in the Psalms…
    • “Address one another in psalms and hymns, singing and making melody to the Lord with all you heart. He who sings prays twice (CCC 1156)
  • The Church stresses its importance in the Liturgy
    • “The musical tradition of the universal Church is… greater even than that of any other art because… the combination and singing of inspired Psalms is closely linked with the Old Covenant” (CCC 1156)
  • Eduardo Bonnin made it a core part of the Cursillo movement
The Seven Words of Praise in the Old Testament
Word Meaning / Context
Shabach Proclaim with a loud voice, unashamed, the GLORY, TRIUMPH, POWER, MERCY, LOVE OF GOD
Zamar To sing with instruments. One of the musical verbs for praise in the book of psalms. The word ZAMAR also means to touch the strings
Yadah I lift my hands to God and surrender myself to Him, spirit, soul & body
Tehillah To sing a spontaneous new song from the heart straight to God
Towdah Giving of thanks or praise with the hand as a sacrifice before reception. As we raise our hearts and hands in praise to the Lord, it involves a sacrifice, especially if one is very sick in body
Barak To give reverence, blessing and thanksgiving to God as an act of adoration
Halal Root of Hallelujah. To shine in God’s favor. To praise boastfully
Psalm 100:5
Enter בוא bow’
into his gates  שער sha’ar
with thanksgiving  תודה towdah
and into his courts  חצר chatser
with praise:  תהלה tehillah
be thankful  ידה yadah
unto him, and bless  ברך barak
his name. שם shem

How Does Singing Affect Us In General?

  • Uses multiple senses and actions – hearing, vocalizing, timing, pitch
  • Evokes emotion
  • Celebrate a common experience together
  • Experience across different generations / genres of music
  • Can have profound meaning for our spiritual or emotional life
  • Associate with people and situations (without even seeing them)
  • Helps to express thoughts and sentiments you normally couldn’t say

How Does Singing Fit into Cursillo?

Eduardo Bonnin

  • “Folk and religious songs were given a great place in setting the atmosphere to be given to the pilgrimage”
  • Was a key ingredient for the long pilgrimage
  • “De Colores” composed for the long journeys
  • Was intended to celebrate the diversity and differences (colors) while bringing us together (in one rainbow)

Why Sing at a Cursillo weekend?

  • Let go of inhibitions
  • Brings common identity (“De Colores”!)
  • Focuses Candidates on the praise of God
  • Can act as “punctuation” for Rollos
  • Establishes “the mood” for key moments such as Agape
  • Enhances adoration and Mass
  • Can be fun – Saturday Songfest


The Unseen Servants on a Cursillo Weekend – Claudette Dachowski

3-Day Coordinator is Matt McSorley. He is the initial Contact Person to assist on the weekends.

Why Unseen? CLOISTERED Environment (enclosed garden; secluded; prayerful) allows everyone to experience JOY (Jesus, Others, Yourself) without interruption or distraction of home, work, etc.

Sponsoring someone and helping with their families/home duties. Do not go looking for your candidates!!!! If serving in the kitchen during meals, DO NOT have a conversation with anyone in the dining hall!! Be mindful of praying in the chapel due to chapel visits. Breaks the cloister.

Performing Authentic Palanca, (Palanca= lever) not only on the weekends, but DAILY for the whole Movement and various parts of it and the people world-wide. There’s a Cursillo weekend somewhere in the world every weekend!

Many things that people can be doing “behind the scenes,” as palanca, to make sure that the weekends run smoothly. Prayer should be part of this when time allows.


  • Pray for team formation and candidate invitation/acceptance
  • Signing up to pray for an hour or more via the Cursillo website; -then go to weekends and prayer hours. Someone should be praying all 72 hours.
  • Weekend set-up in the chapel (sacristan), dining hall, kitchen, rollo room, palanca room
  • Be a greeter at check-in on Thursday evening
  • Donate to Funds from the Heart for those who need financial assistance
  • Performing Palanca for folks you don’t know and writing notes to them. Handwritten notes are best!!
  • Attending Sponsor mtng on Thursday night and group prayer for the weekend- group note to candidates and team
  • Having Palanca written for candidates of family/friends
  • Attend Palanca parties at Ultreya locations
  • Sorting Palanca- done each evening to assist the Angel.
  • Delivering Palanca-Being the pick-up person at various locations/churches
  • Helping out in the kitchen with meals prep- YOU DON’T HAVE TO COOK OR PLAN THE MEALS!! WE HAVE A COORDINATOR AND CHEFS TO DO THIS. You will simply assist and serve the meals, then clean up and re-set the dining hall afterwards. One meal sign-up to allow many to serve. Pat Fredette is the contact/kitchen coordinator
  • Baking non-perishable goodies for meals or snack table
  • Pick up mugs that could be used for ice breaker
  • Help with shopping and buying supplies
  • Taking group photo and going to Walgreen’s to have them printed
  • Helping to “stuff” 4th Day envelopes
  • Assisting with the new “gift shop” (setting up and taking down and shopping for the items)- cash/check and carry- see Eileen Bennis or Matt McSorley re: this
  • Setting up for the Agape in the chapel on Saturday night
  • Attending the closings at both locations, even if you don’t have a candidate on the weekend
  • Offer group prayer at a church/in chapel with ultreya group
  • Giving a ride to someone to attend (some don’t like to drive at night)
  • Clean up of rollo room on Sunday evenings- all posters down, chairs put away, all other weekend materials put away.
  • Sign up on the NH Cursillo website to receive notices re: all activities, and visit the website OFTEN
  • Create / Bring the Ultreya Banner from your parish
  • CONFIDENTIALITY at all times!!

Other ways to help during the year:

  • Attend School of Leaders, Regional and National Cursillo weekends
  • Evangelizing re: Cursillo at your parishes/environments to encourage folks to draw closer to Christ and “live” Cursillo
  • Helping with other Cursillo activities during the year
  • Donate to National Cursillo – $3 campaign
  • Assisting the Sarto Board on announced Clean Up Days (or during the week of Cursillo weekends)

De Colores!