The Episcopal Cursillo Weekend:
We bring together a diverse group of Episcopalians to share the richness of many modes of worship and broaden our appreciation for our Church. Lay people conduct the Weekend with two or three clergy members as spiritual advisors. Cursillo presumes that those who attend a Weekend are already well grounded in the faith. It isn’t intended to be a conversion experience, but an enriching and deepening of what is already there. It often provides new insights into our faith as well as fostering ministry among lay people. There are now two formats for the Episcopal Cursillo Weekend, the original three-day schedule and the newer two-day schedule. The choice of which schedule is used is determined by the individual Cursillo diocese and its needs.
The original format begins on Thursday and the newer format usually begin on Friday. In both, the first evening is spent with meditations and discussions. Then blessed silence is kept until after the worship the next morning. After breakfast participants are assigned to table/family groups for the weekend. The days are filled with talks and group discussions with emphasis on the doctrine of Grace, the Sacraments, and the great Cursillo tripod: Piety, Study, and Action. Plus, all Weekends include fellowship, singing, good food, and time for privacy, meditation, and prayer. Eucharist is celebrated each day.
After the Weekend:
Each person returning from a Weekend is encouraged to actively participate in the Jesus Movement. This time after the Weekend is known as the “Fourth Day” and extends for the rest of their lives. Through the Cursillo community, there are ongoing means to support Christian Ministry and Living. Small groups called Reunions are formed and meet regularly on a regional basis. It is through these groups that we mature in our spirituality and through the Cursillo Method experience Christ being lived and shared with other believers. Our 4th Day can make that experience turn into a lifetime process of spiritual growth and renewal.
A Brief History of Cursillo
The first Cursillo communities developed in the Roman Catholic Church in Mallorca, Spain, in the late 1940s. Under the leadership of their bishop, several laymen began to formulate a way to draw active laymen into the work of "Christianizing" the everyday life settings where they lived. Eventually, the Cursillo Method found interested parties in the United States. The first Cursillo Weekend in the United States was held in Waco, Texas, in 1957. At first, these were still held in the Spanish language, and were available only to Roman Catholics. The first English speaking Weekend was in 1961 in San Angelo, Texas. In time, a few Episcopalians were invited to participate in the Weekends. The first official Weekend in the Episcopal Church was conducted with help from Roman Catholic sponsors in the Diocese of Iowa in 1970. Soon, Weekends were being held in various parts of the country. The first Episcopal Cursillo Ministry Seminar was held in 1975 in the Diocese of Dallas. What is now known as the Episcopal Cursillo Ministry Committee was formed in Atlanta in 1979. Through the years, the Episcopal Cursillo Ministry has remained in communication with the Catholic Church and other Fourth Day Ministries, but it functions independently as an Episcopal Ministry and sets its own course.A common aspect of the history of Cursillo was the fascination with the Cursillo Weekends. For this reason, in many places the Cursillo name was associated only with such weekend experiences. However, deeper study reveals that the Cursillo Method introduced at the Weekend involves much more than just "putting on weekends." This understanding promotes development of the Ministry, results in better appreciation for what Cursillo truly is, and offers a sharper, clearer understanding of how to apply the Cursillo Method -- philosophically and practically. Today, an expanded view of Cursillo as a lifelong ministry beyond just Weekends is proceeding. This is characterized by a return to the roots of the Ministry, and a more comprehensive attempt to define its purpose in simple, cohesive terms. In recent years, the Cursillo Ministry has also come to reflect the changes within the Episcopal Church and sought to support the needs of dioceses throughout the Church. While still encouraging the Cursillo Method, the Ministry now supports both traditional and revised formats for Weekends. Thus, the Cursillo Ministry is continuing to emerge as a mature instrument in the hands of committed lay Christians and clergy to empower the "ministry of the laity” as part of The Jesus Movement.