"To reawaken people to the calling they received in their baptism to be witnesses for Christ, to give them the stimulus to plan ways of doing this, and to provide support structures through which they can encourage each other and hold each other accountable before God for their lives as Christian witnesses."
Revd Canon Christopher Lewis, "Cursillo, a Sabbatical Study Report", 1991
The Aim of Cursillo is:
The Cursillo Method:
Cursillo is for those members of congregations who are already committed in their Christian lives. It is part of the Church, so we encourage people to be active participants in their church communities. We are nurtured and sustained by teaching, prayer, the sacraments and spiritual direction; and by the mutual support of small and larger groups of fellow Christians.
Cursillo helps us:
To grow into a deeper relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ.
To discover our personal vocations and to develop our individual gifts for Christian service and leadership.
To become more effective witnesses to Jesus Christ in our lives.
To bring about and to strengthen Christian commitment within a Community of Faith.
To build up the witness of the Church in the world that both may be renewed and transformed.
The basic method is an equal emphasis upon:
All three are important.
Cursillo began in Spain but can actually be traced back to an encyclical written by Pope Pius XI in which he invited the laity to become ‘true leaven of Christ in the human dough’. Through this, Catholic Action was born. In Spain, the young men formed the most active wing of this.
After the Spanish Civil War at the end of the thirties, the Christian Church was under attack. However, many of the young Christian men remained faithful to Christ and decided to work at transforming a society which was without Christ into one that was centred on Him. After reflection and prayer, it was decided to stimulate the Christian faith in young people through a great pilgrimage to the shrine of St James in Compostella. It was to be an opportunity to share and to pray, to deepen faith and commitment to Christ. Group leaders were to be prepared through short courses (Cursillos) which dealt with the knowledge of faith, the nature of leadership and Catholic Action and the organisation of the pilgrimage. 70,000 young people took part in the pilgrimage which was a great success. One of the leaders, Eduardo Bonnin, was captivated with the whole idea of the Cursillo and the pilgrimage, which led him to the concept of pilgrimage to the Father to which we are all invited. Together with others he formulated a three day Cursillo which sought to remedy the ‘ignorance of faith, the superficiality of ritualism and the apathy of non-faith commitment in daily life’.