What is Cursillo?
Cursillo is a Movement that originated in Mallorca Spain in the late 1940’s. Cursillo is not an organization, but a movement. The original leaders were all trainers of Spanish young men who attended a nationwide pilgrimage to northwest Spain where the tomb of St James the Greater was located. Cursillo weekends came into existence in 1949 because the founders believed that every Catholic was an apostle by virtue of their baptism. The first women’s weekend was held in 1953. The goal was to infuse the Christian spirit into men and women so they would become the vertebrae to Christianize their environments. The movement spread worldwide in the 1950’s and the first Cursillo weekend was held in the United States in 1957. Pope Paul VI named St. Paul the Patron of Cursillo in 1963 and four years later he identified Cursillo as having a unique charism or spirituality.
Cursillo Charism (Spirituality)
According to Eduardo Bonin, the founder of the Cursillo Movement, the aim of Cursillo “is nothing else but to try to have the Good News of the Gospel reach as many people as possible.” The goal for Cursillistas is to live what is fundamental to being a Christian through their piety, study of the faith and their actions in their homes, workplaces and communities. The emphasis is on effort, living a Christian life. The emphasis of Cursillo is on developing the individual spirituality or method of being with God. Cursillistas grow spirituality through regular attendance at group reunions, which are small gatherings of men or women, where the members share their faith experiences in a supportive, yet challenging environment. These groups are sources of growth and affirmation, and also places where strong friendships develop. Most Cursillistas would place their group brothers or sisters right after their families when aligning relationships. Cursillistas also attend Ultreya, a gathering of both male and female Cursillistas within a parish or local area, in order to encourage and support one another on the journey through their enthusiasm for living the Christian life by listening to a witness speaker and group sharing.
Additionally, the movement conducts a School of Leaders which is open to all Cursillistas. The School creates an apostolic mentality in its members by discussing spiritual topics and formulating the training of Cursillistas so they continue their apostolic growth.
The Cursillo charism is to live like Christ did and to evangelize all environments by using words if necessary.