An Invitation to Grace and our Response to it:
The 5 Spiritual Rollos/Meditations of Cursillo
“Sponsorship – ‘Walking the Journey with our Friends'”
The 5 Spiritual Rollos/Meditations
Thursday Night: The Retreat Phase begins (A time of silence)
Meditation #1 “Know Yourself”
Create relaxing atmosphere
Be open to the Holy Spirit
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.
#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.
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.
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”. Palanca is introduced during this Rollo.
Lay Rollo: Piety: A summary Rollo, with a strong personal witness. Become the person God made us to be. A real example of what we’ve been talking about all day long.
Saturday Morning: The Conversion Phase begins
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: Learning, growing into becoming a fully Christian human being.
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: Faith without works is dead. James 2:14-18
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 day long.
Sunday Morning: The Reinsertion Phase begins
Meditation #5 “Christ’s Message to the Cursillista”
Sunday of Cursillo is what makes Cursillo, Cursillo
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
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.
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 whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Lay Rollo: Cursillista Beyond the Cursillo: A summary Rollo, with a strong personal witness. 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 day long.
Lay Rollo: Total Security: Group Reunion and Ultreya is “officially” introduced/ reinforced one last time
PRE CURSILLO TALK
My name is Sandy Hauser and I am the pre-cursillo coordinator for the Secretariat.
I worship at Holy Trinity Parish in Plymouth, Ashland & Bristol. I am also the Administrative Assistant for the Parish as well. I lived my Cursillo at the Holy Retreat Center in Easton, Mass..#222 in November of 1994
My talk is about the selection of Environments and Candidates…
For us in the Cursillo movement, to influence an environment for Christ, means to permeate it with a Christian influence…for example: like dye soaks in and changes the color of a garment, so it is with us, to spread the Gospel message…to” soak it through to others” with the ideal that is worth living and dying for…the life of Grace and its consequence.
Being a leader requires being a witness of Christ at all times and in all environments. You should be discovering the persons who offer the best hope for a Christian transformation in their environments. The only way we can interest potential candidates to experience Cursillo, is by living a conscious and growing life of grace through personal contact, on a regular basis and establishing a sincere friendship with the person…this takes time…
So what environments should we be studying and what key people should we select…how do we prepare them and invite them to Cursillo?
LET US START WITH THE CANDIDATES… Who are they? They are baptized practicing Catholic people of all social classes. The success of the Cursillo movement is due to this diversity of backgrounds. Men and women are chosen for the same reasons, focusing on their maturity.
They are chosen on an equal basis, so their gifts and talents can be utilized to achieve the purpose of the movement…We seek candidates who influence their environments from within…they need not hold the highest position in their environment…we seek those who are strong in their opinions and by their action influence their environment.
A person who has humility, strong in their conviction, free in understanding the importance of the Gospel, mature and concerned with the life around them.
Cursillo seeks to help people live what is fundamental for being a Christian…love of God and Love of neighbor, and we must then try to return the candidate to their environments, humble, yet strong in their love of Christ.
We need to focus on bringing them closer to Christ, so that they can continue to grow in Christian love and perfection.
We must begin developing in the candidates for a Cursillo, a concern for themselves, for their religion, and for their environments…
If we had to describe this ideal attitude that the Cursillista should bring when he or she is invited, we would say that it is a three-angled figure…
For one thing, a listening attitude, because they must be open to the truth; a friendly attitude since the person must be open to others; and an openness to change, as that person must be open to himself or herself, without any pre-conceived intangible self-image, like self-centeredness…
In the Gospel of John, Philip tells Nathaniel about Jesus of Nazareth as the one whom Moses wrote about in the law, Nathaniel scornfully asks whether anything good can come from Nazareth. Philip invites Nathaniel to “come and see” an invitation similar to that used by Jesus to Philip, when He said “follow me”.(John 1:43-47). Jesus’ loved them as they were, but called them, through friendship, to be more.
When the lives of natural leaders are centered on Christ, those that they influence will examine their own lives in the light of Christ’s love and His gift of Himself on the cross.
The Candidates should be capable of being open to discern and to understand the Gospel message… Committing to the love of God, of oneself, and of their neighbors…to live the life of grace and discover their talents and potentials with a view toward serving the community.
So who are some of the candidates?…well they generally fall into four categories….the first two catagories are strong potential candidates…the last two are just not ready yet to be a candidate.
1. Natural leaders of the environment. Those who use their abilities to achieve what they believe is worthwhile…They lead the way…they are agents of change…and as I said before, not ones who occupy the highest position or the best situated in life, but those whose decisions count, and their actions influence others.
2. Simply any practicing Catholic who is eligible to receive the Sacraments. The ordinary Catholic; the one trying to live the catholic life the best they know how.
3. Those who should not go: Non-Catholics or non practicing Catholics who haven’t completed their sacraments of initiation. This doesn’t mean you should not befriend them. It is these “faraways” that you should also make a friend…be a friend and bring them to Jesus. Cursillo is not an RCIA program…RCIA has a different role in the Church, available to all who want to know about the Catholic Church and want to become a Catholic.
4. People who are going through psychological or emotional problems…those who have a drinking, drug or moral problems, not in recovery.
The Church will only grow in the world by those individuals who have the capacity to attract, motivate and evangelize others. One of the ways to attract, motivate and evangelize others is the Cursillo Movement and through the movement will help the Church grow stronger in the Catholic Faith and love of Jesus Christ.
In Cursillo we understand that it is absolutely necessary to prepare the candidate, our friend, with a view of Post-Cursillo. There is no better preparation and attraction for the candidates than a personal and authentic witness of OUR fourth day.
How do we prepare our candidate?
First, let me tell you about the way we should NOT prepare our candidate.
Candidate preparation in the past may have been along the lines of meeting a person through one of the church functions…You might say “you need to DO a Cursillo”. Or” “you just have to do this weekend…I can’t tell you anything about it…you’ll see”…and you don’t explain Ultreyas or Group Reunion to the person because that’s a little too information. You might scare them off if they knew there was a follow up.
The way we should prepare our candidates…
It has been said that Postcursillo will only be as good as the Precursillo…So candidate preparation is an absolute necessity….
Share some of the weekend with them…tell them that there are wonderful talks by the team, the atmosphere is joyful, with singing and humor. There is a beautiful spiritual aspect with Mass, meditations, and talks given by the Priest and/or Deacon. There is a followup, where Cursillistas meet and share if they choose to do so.
Give them some insight on this wonderful, spiritual weekend.
Being the pre-cursillo coordinator it is my position to look at all the applications that come in from the sponsors, and their candidates. To approve, question and sometimes deny the application.
This position has been a learning lesson for me in more ways than one… I have come to realize the importance of these applications… These are not “retreat” applications…You decide to go…you alone fill out an application.
To live a Cursillo weekend you are invited to go… and more important… beside the candidate’s application, there is the sponsors application which asks “how long have you known the candidate and in what way” and why you have selected and invited them…Two very important questions to answer.
Let me give you an example: A few years back, I received an application even though the sponsor stated that she didn’t know her other than in church, but 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 for very long.
What a learning lesson that was for me… Now I will call the sponsor on any application that I feel needs clarification in any way that seems uncomfortable to me…and if I am really unsure…I contact the Secretariat for their guidance.
Study of the environment is about studying the person…getting know them… how he/she thinks…their wants and needs….getting to know their heart.
How? Personal contact…just be a friend…by being a friend helps to know them, which aids us in taking them from where they are …to where they should be… we learn that through our personal contact and friendship we may awaken a deep desire in them for conversion.
When working with married couples, we should try to include both husband and wife in the pre-cursillo preparation as it is so important that they both have the desire to use the Cursillo method as a way of life.
There have been times when the husband may go first and it may take a while for the wife to live Cursillo… but he sets an example because he comes home different…so then she may want to experience what he received..
There are times when the wife goes first and the husbands comes around later as he sees her change…and wants what she has..
Then of course we have the single, widowed, divorced men and women who have the desire to use the Cursillo method as their way of life.
Whatever position they are in, married, widowed, and single; all these candidates need pre-cursillo personal contact…friendship…
All candidates should be prepared in such a way that when they arrive at the weekend they have a strong desire to grow in perfection as a person and a Christian, and they also have a strong desire for conversion.
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 have a closer relationship with our Lord and be an authentic Christian witness to all they are in contact with.
Then our Postcursillo, Group reunions, and Ultreyas will be vibrant and alive in our Christian communities. And, the environments will be transformed in and for Jesus Christ.
Sponsoring and Sponsor’s Responsibilities during the Weekend
Introduction: Good morning/afternoon, I am John Wentworth. I currently serve on the NH Cursillo Secretariat, as Lay Director. My wife Holly and I live in Concord, and worship at IHM. We have two grown daughters, three wonderful grandchildren, and one totally amazing dog. I lived my Cursillo weekend in 2005, #244, group reunion of St. Luke. I am here to speak about sponsoring and the sponsors’ responsibilities during the Cursillo weekend.
You may recall reading the following quote in the Sponsor’s booklet.
Where do all good people go?
They go to heaven
Where do all bad people go?
They go to hell.
Where do all the very, very bad people go?
They go to Cursillo to get zapped.
This appeared years ago in one of Spain’s newsletters, which is a good lead-in to one of the first misconceptions people have about the Cursillo Movement. The misconception is that Cursillo can make Christians out of people no one else can do anything with. Of course this is not what Cursillo is for. And of course these are not the kind of people we should (think about sponsoring) bring to Cursillo.
Sandy made it very clear that one of the most important aspects of Cursillo (Pre-Cursillo, Cursillo and Post-Cursillo) is the support and care given by the Sponsor. Sponsoring should be viewed as an important service provided for the candidate in order to ensure the best possible experience as the candidate journeys in faith from the Pre-Cursillo phase to the Post-Cursillo phase. A sponsor sensitive to the needs of the candidate will be of great assistance in this journey.
Being a sponsor is committing one’s self through friendship to the selection and preparation of a person for a Cursillo, and the ongoing assistance to that person in the Post-Cursillo. THIS PROCESS TAKES TIME.
From one of my favorite references (FICM: Fundamental Ideas of the Cursillo Movement); “The Cursillo Movement is fully aware of the importance and transcendence of the prophetic ministry of evangelization, which is the first reality in the economy of salvation and the principle of all life for the Church.” (Lumen Gentium 20) We Cursillistas are also fully aware that our evangelistic activities often result in sponsorship.
This is a quote from Pope Francis at the recent third Cursillo World Ultreya in Rome, Pope Francis, said , “We are called to be fruitful, to go further, to go ahead, to go out”… and he continued, “You are called, you did not choose, you were chosen, you have been called to make fruitful the charism that the Lord had entrusted you”.
In speaking of the keys to making our charism fruitful, the Pope said, “Be open, be attentive, be committed to others to share what we have received. Communicate what the Lord has done for me, so tenderly, with such kindness and mercy. This is the testimony.” This sharing done specifically through Friendship: “only within relations of genuine friendship is it possible to prepare and accompany people”.
The Pope reminds us and highlights the two essential keys of our movement, the witness of life and friendship. Only from our own experience of friendship with the Lord can flow friendship with others. A friendship that we must sow and build, having the initiative to go to others, to accompany them, to serve, to have patience and respect for others.
Sponsoring is NOT a haphazard circumstance.
It should be the deliberate act of bringing Jesus Christ into the world. Therefore, a sponsor should know the Cursillo method well, and the candidate very well. The candidates will become those agents of change in their families, work places, neighborhoods, social gatherings, and more.
On a personal note, I have sponsored four men who have lived Cursillo weekends. When I think about it, I only asked one of them to consider living a weekend. The other three asked me about Cursillo after we had developed a friendship. I have come to understand that I have not been an accidental sponsor.
Sponsors’ responsibilities do not end as soon as their invited candidate enters the Cursillo weekend. They must continue to support the candidate during the three day weekend and throughout the fourth day, in prayers and in actions.
If you as a sponsor are not willing to accompany the new Cursillista in
the Post-Cursillo, DO NOT SPONSOR THE PERSON.
Let’s discuss the sponsor’s responsibilities during the Cursillo weekend. As stated in the sponsor’s booklet, this should be the shortest chapter of all Cursillo literature. During the weekend, the sponsor is to PRAY, PRAY and PRAY some more. Pray and sacrifice.
On Thursday evening of the weekend, following the check-in process, sponsors are asked to gather in the Chapel (Chapel room at the Town & Country) for the sponsor meeting, to come together as a small group reunion, and to pray for their candidates. A sponsor should NOT leave this meeting without having Palanca for his/her candidate.
After delivering the candidate to the weekend (do NOT allow the candidate to drive him/herself), a sponsor should be available to help with any of the candidate’s things that need attending, such as transportation, home, spouse, children, pets, and so on. Most important—BE AT THE CLOSING.
Following the weekend, sponsors should help get the new Cursillista into a small group reunion, and should bring them to Ultreya. They can also bring them to other Cursillo events such as the Statewide Mass and Ultreya, and School of Leaders.
Every Cursillista, after returning from the weekend, knows what Palanca means. It is a Spanish word, literally meaning “a lever”. It’s a tool that we use to lift up or move something bulky. In the Eucharistic Prayer of the Holy Mass, the celebrant says to the congregation, “Lift up your hearts”, and everyone responds, “We lift them up to the Lord.” How do we lift up our hearts to the Lord, if not through prayer?
Cursillo literature states that the Cursillo Movement used the term “Palanca”, a lever, to convey the essential meaning of the Paschal Mystery of Christ, in which we are all called to participate (in our own lives). The lever is seen as what we might in our own culture refer to as a “see-saw”, where a group of individuals gather at one end to lift up another individual or group higher than themselves. The visual idea of individuals getting on one end of the see-saw so that that their weight carries them down to the ground to lift others up is the way to express that Paschal Mystery all Christians are called to experience in their spiritual lives.
It should be made apparent that it is normal for Christians to pray and sacrifice for others.
Notice that Cursillo speaks of prayer and sacrifice together. Chapter 12 in the LM states, “In dealing with the work of conversion and Christian renewal of persons, and the evangelization of human groups, it is necessary, first and foremost, that all the other human efforts be built upon the grace of God, which should be sought with the omnipotent zeal of trusting, constant and humble prayer”. Therefore, prayer without sacrifice is not Palanca.
The Cursillo Movement assures us that prayer has always been the strength of all the functions of the Movement. The FICM strongly recognizes grace as principle and foundation of our Movement, and considers Palanca as one of the basic elements of the Cursillo strategy, known as the Mystery of Palanca.
Whenever we speak of working for conversion, for the Christian betterment of individuals, it is indispensable–as the first and most basic step underlying all other human efforts–to count on the help of grace from God, which has to be begged for with the all-powerful strength of prayer that is humble, confident, and unceasing.
We must remind ourselves that without Him, we are nothing. Therefore we must reaffirm the primacy that the Cursillo strategy has always given, as its most important characteristic, to Palanca (prayer, sacrifice and works of mercy).
Following are Cursillo prayer traditions recommended as Palanca to lift up petitions to God for the success of our Cursillo activities: Holy Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, Holy Communion, praying the Rosary, reading the scriptures, Stations of the Cross, Liturgy of the hours, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, visits to the Blessed sacrament, fasting, almsgiving, Prayer and fasting, and acts of self-denial offered with a prayer.
Working in the kitchen for one of the weekend meals or working behind the scenes such as sorting Palanca are also excellent forms of Palanca.
This truth is founded on the promise of Christ: “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.” (MT 7:7) (FICM #180) And also from FICM, “Profound communion with God, acquired by way of prayer, sacrifice, reception of the sacraments, and reflection on the Word, will mark every moment of the Cursillo.” (FICM #333)
It is important to understand that Palanca offerings should NOT BE LIMITED to any particular Cursillo function.
The LM affirms that sacrifice is part and parcel of Christian life. If the Movement quit emphasizing the importance of sacrifice, it would not be Christ-centered. The best way to maintain our spirituality is to live the spirit of Palanca each day. Please check out the NH Cursillo website to learn more about this.
The LM also reminds us that “within the Movement, we must be vigilant that the term Palanca not be misunderstood and abused, so that incidentals do not overshadow its inner calling and meaning.
Colorful posters and banners (in themselves) are not Palanca; neither are flowers, edibles, friendship letters or good wishes. This is false Palanca under the guise of “pleasant things”. Prayer and sacrifice are not “pleasant things”, but they are effective in securing God’s grace.
It must be understood that letters are not Palanca. Letters are merely the means of communicating the Palanca currently being done. Keeping this in mind, we must realize that Palanca can be done for a particular purpose, without having to write a letter about it. St. Paul, the Patron saint of Cursillo, reminds us in Romans 12:1, “Offer yourselves as a living and holy sacrifice which is pleasing to Him.” This should be the real offering.
The Three Day Cursillo
As the “Ideario” (the original writings of the Cursillo Movement) states, the love of God of all Christians is witnessed during the weekend through the Palanca performed by Cursillistas. The Palanca should be presented without treating it like a “trump card”, without dramatization.
Again, it should be made clear that it is normal for a person to make sacrifices for others, even if they do not know them personally.
The three days are supernaturally backed by persons and communities who pray and make sacrifices for their brothers and sisters, that these might be open to truth and grace. The spiritual presence of these praying communities should be communicated to the Cursillistas, but without over-dramatization.
The emphasis should be on general Palanca with the outside community offering prayer and sacrifice for the community that is being formed on the three days.
Handwritten notes (and not photocopied letters) briefly describing the Palanca are best.
Visit our website at www.nhcursillo.org to view a list of team and candidates who you are offering palanca for.
In closing, please remember that just as Christ is counting on you, so, too, is your candidate; to be there for their families this weekend, and to encourage and foster them on their fourth day when their weekend is completed.
We can draw a conclusion from the Ultreya and Encounter with the Pope; Go beyond. Go forward. Go out, walk, fructify. The Cursillo Movement is called today to go further, guided by the Holy Spirit. “If you do not trust the Holy Spirit, go back home. This is not our initiative, it is the Holy Spirit that guides us, who makes the charism grow and to be fruitful. Each charism is called to grow. Why? Because it carries within it the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit makes it grow. The Spirit is with us. We must be aware of this reality, open up to His action, and continue walking, getting carried away by Him.
Sponsor’s Workshop- Part III
Good afternoon everyone. My name is Claudette Dachowski and I am the SOL coordinator for the NH Cursillo Movement. I lived my Cursillo 12 years ago this Fall, Cursillo # 237.
Sandy just explained the Importance and Purpose of Sponsoring and the Responsibilities that entails in the Pre-Cursillo, John discussed the responsibilities of sponsors on the weekend, along with Palanca, and now I am going to discuss Sponsorship in the 4th Day of candidates, now “babe chicks,” and also do the summary for all three parts of this talk.
Before I do that, let’s all say the slogan of Cursillo- “Make a Friend, Be a Friend, Bring a Friend to Christ.” Very good. I would also say, continue to grow in Christ, walk the journey of Christian living, through active and ongoing friendship. Many sponsors (and the teams themselves), unfortunately, think that once their candidates have lived a Cursillo weekend, their responsibilities can diminish. In the Fundamental Ideas Book #201 it states that “although each of the 3 stages of Cursillo is clearly defined and distinct, they are all so closely connected that they constitute an organic whole. Hence, each stage must attain its specific objectives if the Cursillo Movement is to accomplish its purpose (evangelization). A failure to functioning of any of the three stages will have direct consequences on the other two, and therefore on the development/success of the Cursillo Movement as a whole.” Thus, the entire strategy of each stage much be oriented toward the other two- Our TRIPOD in a different way. But, I must emphasize that the Pre-Cursillo and Weekend are the “warm ups,” or immediate purpose, for the Post-Cursillo, the ultimate purpose of the Movement. WHY??
Before Jesus ascended to Heaven, he commanded the Apostles to go and baptize and teach all nations about Jesus and the Good News of God’s love. This is still the work of every baptized Christian, regardless of denomination. “The Church will always be the leaven in the world- that is Her mission and reason for Her sacramental presence in it. We, as the laity, (the Church, and Body of Christ) have our share and responsibility in that mission and presence.” (Postcursillo- NCC, June 2007) In the strategy of Cursillo, after having learned about Jesus and a desire to seek Him out in the Pre-Cursillo through an authentic friendship and witness by a Christian/Catholic, and then living a Cursillo weekend, encountering Jesus through other Catholic Christians and the sacraments, it becomes essential to now send them forth and join others in evangelization of their environments through authentic Christian living, and then beginning the Cursillo cycle again of “Make a Friend..” This is a never-ending circle folks!!
In the Cursillo method, Group Reunion and Ultreya in the Post Cursillo are the means by which we all continue our personal and communal conversions, so that we can continue to grow in/develop our relationship with God and others, and thus, transform our environments. Unfortunately, many people have told me that their sponsors never mentioned Group Reunion and Ultreya, or they told them that they are active enough in the Church through various ministries/spiritual groups, so they DON’T NEED to participate in GR or Ultreya!! It is somehow seen as an option or an inconvenience- one more thing to go to at Church, or a guilt trip that shows them what they’re not living, or a way to identify them as Cursillistas… Respectfully, those folks don’t understand the importance and purpose of GR and Ultreya, or the Cursillo Method, in general (another type of tripod). Doestoevski stated that, “the worst enemies of a movement are those who become its promoters without understanding its mentality.” Wow!! That’s why we need to help all Cursillo leaders understand what the total Movement, in all its stages, is about- thus SOL.
In the Total Security rollo, we hear that it is possible to continue to “live” the Cursillo weekend experience and experience God’s love by active friendship with our intimate small group and larger Cursillo community state-wide. Unfortunately, by the time everyone hears this, they are overwhelmed, exhausted, or saturated with information. Thus, the reason to make this a very powerful, enthusiastic, and memorable rollo, but also a lived experience by the sponsors so that the babe chicks are already aware that there is a loving community waiting to meet and share their lives with them through fellowship and discussion re: our daily struggles/successes with Piety, Study, and Action.
The most important thing we do, as baptized Christians, is to bring the love and mercy of Jesus Christ to others, to leaven our environments with the Gospel message, to be salt and light to those who are seeking. And this takes time- time to make a friend, time to be a friend, and time to bring a friend to Christ, and time to continue the Christian journey with our friends. There’s no magic pill that makes it happen in one 3 day weekend. This is why our founder, E. Bonnin, developed the small groups and the Ultreya Method, to give the weekend its “wings and roots” –its charism of evangelization through friendship.
While I was writing this rollo, the image of a butterfly in a chrysalis came to mind. There is a story about a person who saw a butterfly struggling to get out of the chrysalis and in her compassion, tried to help it by cutting the chrysalis so that the butterfly could get out quicker, but do you know what happened to the butterfly? It couldn’t fly because it had not built up enough strength in its wings due to the shorter time and less struggle in the chrysalis. So it is with Cursillistas. Trying to bring people to Christ by experiencing “just a weekend” short- changes the candidates of an enduring friendship and will, most likely, not assist them in making the Cursillo Method their lifestyle in the Post-Cursillo. It’s not enough to send someone to a Cursillo Weekend. The new Cursillista needs as much, and even more, personal attention during their Fourth Day. A Cursillo weekend is just 3 days, but our Fourth Day is the rest of our lives, and so it’s critical to make a conscientious effort to be a part of the new Cursillista’s life.
Jesus may have preached to many people in one sitting, but it was the personal relationships he formed with such people as Joseph of Arimathea, The Samaritan Woman at the Well, and Mary Magdalene that moved them to the living water that Jesus was offering to them. He took three years with twelve men, teaching them and showing them how to truly live the Gospel message He was proclaiming up through His crucifixion and resurrection, and continued presence for 40 Days afterwards!! And they got it because after He ascended back to Heaven, the community continued to grow. The best example of this witness is in Acts 2: 46-47:
“ 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
When I’ve sponsored people, in most cases, I have continued to have a relationship with them by socializing with them, praying with them, sharing our personal successes and struggles. I have paid for subscriptions to Magnificat and Spiritual Life, invited them to Ultreya and Small group, to Palanca parties and to offer palanca for the weekends. The one person I sponsored whom I didn’t know well has unfortunately “fallen through the cracks.” I have failed as a sponsor to this woman. I should not have sponsored her because I couldn’t offer her the personal attention she deserved, and truthfully, neither should anyone else. If you can’t make the commitment, DON’T SPONSOR, and don’t agree to do it because someone else, esp. a priest, asks you, because they want to send this person to a weekend!!…
As John discussed, Palanca is the anchor of the Cursillo movement. We must first and foremost commit to prayer and beg for God’s grace in all humility confidence, and persistence. The primacy of the Cursillo strategy is palanca (prayer, sacrifice, and works of mercy), both before and during the weekend, but also in the 4th Day, for continued growth to the Movement and for our sponsored candidates.
Note: At the Sponsors’ Meetings on the Thursday we end the Sponsors’ Meeting with a decade of the Rosary in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the Monstrance because I truly want the sponsors to offer Palanca in the true spirit of prayer as a small group community. I also pass out Sponsor Booklets (I have them for you today) so that they can read up in more detail what commitment they are truly making.
Most new Cursillistas leave the Sarto Center or other Weekend locations, like Gorham, with enthusiasm, although exhausted and a few pounds heavier, but after having had the opportunity to encounter self, Christ, and others on the weekend, this is only a sufficient first step. Like teaching a child how to swim in Beginner swim class, we don’t then drop them out in the ocean and hope they make it back to shore on their own. This is why in the Church we also have Baptismal godparents, Confirmation and RCIA sponsors. The job is only half done in the Pre-Cursillo and Weekend phases. They have experienced small groups at their tables, thus the name change to, “Our group reunion names are …”They must now experience it anew in Small GR and Ultreya. We have all heard on the weekend that “No one is an island- An isolated Christian is a paralyzed Christian.”
Sponsors must feed that fire of perseverance and encourage the new Cursillistas to freely use the Method of Group Reunion and Ultreya and the tripod of Piety, Study and Action. Sponsors should make the commitment to share the Christian way of life together with their friends, thus fortifying the three encounters initiated on their weekend. They should also encourage the babe chicks to become the leaven in their environments so that Christian evangelization continues in perpetuity. When we stop evangelizing about Christ, people won’t experience His love and mercy and draw close to Him.
Jesus didn’t send his disciples out alone, always in pairs, so we must continue this directive from Christ Himself. This is the larger commitment of Sponsors- to help friends to get into a group reunion and attend Ultreya. If you’re doing this yourself, it’s not a problem, right??? RIGHT??? I also want to remind everyone that a sponsor can be a couple or small group or Ultreya group- much more support that way. It’s on the sponsor form, so please don’t just give “lip service” to these questions. Look at this form as a promise, not a suggestion.
I have “Sponsor’s Booklets” for sale ($2 each) so that you can read in more depth what you should tell candidates before they attend a weekend and what is to come afterward (but some info has changed a bit in it re: who goes when? Etc.). We do them a great disservice if we don’t tell them to what they are potentially committing in their 4th Day. If you get them established in a small group and attend Ultreya with them, and then they decide that’s not for them, well, you’ve fulfilled your commitment. But, if you don’t follow through, as I said before, you do them a great disservice by not allowing them to experience that Total Security of God’s love for them in Friendship through the Cursillo Community.
In GR and Ultreya, the questions stay the same and some people comment that they are boring and repetitive, but if we are living and breathing, we have new experiences daily that can be shared and show our faith walk towards God, so even tho’ the questions stay the same, the answers should change constantly. And if they don’t, then that’s when personal conviction of living an authentic Christian lifestyle can be encouraged-not judged to go forward/onward- ULTREYA!!.
So to summarize our Sponsor rollo: We as Cursillistas and Sponsors should:
• Know the purpose of the Cursillo Movement-Evangelization via Friendship.
• Read and apply the information contained in the Sponsors’ Booklet, and provide complete info to our candidate friends beforehand.
• Know the Candidate as a friend, as much as possible, and pray for direction from the Holy Spirit.
• Give authentic witness to a Christian lifestyle, living what we proclaim in your own 4th Day.
• Spark the desire for a hunger for God and make it grow by promoting an attitude of daily conversion.
• Take responsibility for the perseverance of the candidate friend until they are solidly established in their 4th Day.
• Completely fill out the Application with the candidate and provide any pertinent info to the Pre-Cursillo coordinator about the personality and disposition of the candidate.
• Follow up with the new Cursillistas to see how their 4th Day is going in regard to living our tripod method of Piety, Study, and Action and attendance at Small Group and Ultreya.
• Continue to look for more people to befriend and help the Cursillo network to continue to grow for the purpose of evangelization.
• Perform daily Palanca for candidates and the Cursillo Movement
• Build the Church with your evangelizing presence in environments
If we do all these things, and truly become salt and light and leaven for our environments, I believe that our Lord will tell us when we see Him face to face, “Well done, my good and faithful servants.” De Colores