August 2014

Friendship has been mentioned and implied throughout the Sacred Scriptures with lessons and stories of both bad and good friends. In the Old Testament Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), we find a compilation of materials that include moral and ethical maxims, folk, proverbs, psalms of praise, and lament, theological reflections, homiletic exhortations, and pointed observations about Jewish life and religious mores in the second century BC. For example, “There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence” (Sirach 6:15). And “For there is a friend who is such at his own convenience, but will not stand by you in your day of trouble … A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter: he that has found one has found a treasure” Sirach 6:8, 14). “Whoever fears the Lord directs his friendship aright, for as he is, so is his neighbor” (Sirach 6:17).

To read the whole lesson click here

To watch a recording of the lesson click here.

January 2014

My talk will only skim over this very deep topic.  In the words of Juan Ruiz, Cursillo National Hispanic Coordinator “A Cursillo de Cursillo is required to fully discuss the charism of the Cursillo in Christianity Movement”.  I will try to share some important points about this topic.
In order to begin this topic we have to focus on the definition of Charism.  The dictionary tells us the meaning is “gift” “present” which is equivalent to “grace” “appeal” or “vocation”.  It’s practically synonymous of “functions and activities”.

“The charisms are, therefore, the effects of the Spirit of God in the believer, which can never be demanded by man, nor can they be provided by the official bodies of the church, nor can they be achieved by the reception of the sacraments.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines Charisma in Section 799 as “a specific gift or grace of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefits the Church, given in order to help a person live out the Christian life, or to serve the common good in building up the Church.”

Click here read the teaching in full.


The next School of Leaders is Thursday March 4th.

The School of Leaders is a diocesan meeting of ALL cursillistas who are interested in:

1. Meeting other cursillistas from outside their parish
2. Learning more of the Cursillo method, mentality and technique
3. Having a say in the future activities and actions of the Cursillo in our diocese
4. Serving on the secretariat or a weekend team

The SOL is currently offering a Traveling SOL. We will come to you. If your group reunion is willing to host a one time or occasional SOL. All that is required is a phone call or email to the Director of the SOL, permission of your pastor, a reserved room in your parish, and a bulletin announcement. Talk to your group reunion and those in your parish to generate interest.

All SOLs are open to any cursillista in the diocese and will be posted on the Cursillo web calendar. Please call today and reserve your dates.

Pat Rocha
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So, what is Cursillo? Many think the Cursillo weekend is a nice retreat. A spiritual treat shared with an exclusive group of people. It could be a mountain top experience away from ordinary life that renews a remembered sensation of community. A spirit-filled weekend filled with emotional highs. Maybe Cursillos is an opportunity to relive an important moment in our spiritual growth that feeds our soul and strengthens our sense of purpose. Kind of strange if it is only offered as a one-time experience, what is the point? More importantly, what part does it play in our journey to God?

The purpose of Cursillo is to enable lay Catholics to live their lives by Jesus’s two great commandments—to love God and love our neighbor. The Cursillo charism is friendship. To love your neighbor, it is essential to know the person, spend time, talk and share--to become friends and grow closer to God. This takes time and effort but it is an investment in our salvation.
Friendship is the key to the Cursillo. Friends are like meringue pie. Some are the golden brown highlights on the top. The people we wave to on the street as they walk their dogs or the grocery clerks we see weekly. We recognize them as part of our environment. Some are the white bubble filled meringue—Facebook posts and quick chats at coffee and donuts after Mass. Some are the tart sweet parts of our lives, filled with give and take, good and not so pleasant—neighbors, coworkers and distant family. Others are our crust—stable, supportive and always there. All of this is held together by the beautiful pie pan of our life in God. 

It sounds incredible. How do we get started? We meet a cursillista and become friends with him or her. It could be someone in our parish, a relative or someone in our neighborhood. We talk with them about our life experiences, maybe a connection through our children or another organization. Somewhere along there is an invitation to “Come and see”. Whoever brings up the idea, we sign up for a Cursillo Weekend. This will be an introduction into the Cursillo life.

Just like boot camp, the weekend will be an intensive experience composed of three components. Part of the weekend is the prayers and liturgy familiar to our Catholic practices. Part is the lived experience of community with our brothers or sisters. Something I thought was a foretaste of heaven. The last part is the Rollos, 15 talks that developed the Cursillo plan of living our lives. These talks gradually draw the candidate into the Cursillo method of perseverance—Group reunion. The purpose of the Three Day Cursillo weekend is to build the friendships and skills that the cursillista will use. The weekend is the bridge to that Fourth Day, meaning the rest of your life.
Cursillo gives us the tool, our 4th day group reunions, to grow friendship on a deeper level, down to the crust. To learn to really know our group sisters or brothers takes time. To learn to love them, we share our lives prayer, study, action, closest moments to Christ, apostolic successes and failures. We also share our aspirations and plans. We ask them to hold us to our course. In success and failure, we come back to them for support, encouragement, consolation, and a reminder that human failure could be part of God’s plan. Weekly group reunion is the tool of the Cursillo. We do not go to God alone but with our arms around each other.

The second tool the Cursillo gives us is the Ultreya. This is a celebration of the Cursillo group reunion. It is the support of our wider Cursillo community. Its purpose is to challenge and inspire the groups. To inspire the vision, bring the stagnant to enthusiasm, support to the struggling and share successes and joys. Participating in Ultreya with your 4th day group reunion brings joy and a sense of connection with the whole Cursillo community.

Bringing friends who have not yet made a Cursillo to the Ultreya is a great way to inspire and encourage participation. Careful introduction of prospective candidates to a group reunion is ideal with the support of the group sisters or brothers. These are the ordinary environment of the cursillista.

Those who want to know more about the movement or consider making the Cursillo an apostolate should attend School of Leaders. A floating group reunion is established in the School. Friendships are formed and a purpose is established. The title is a carryover from the Spanish terminology but the School is the compass of the Cursillo movement in the diocese. This is where ideas and plans for the Cursillo movement are generated. In the School, those who see the importance of supporting the movement join in steering the Cursillo course. Palanca, study and action are essential on the schedule. To stop learning is to die. The Cursillo publications are available at the School. On the National website there are many videos and printed talks from National and Regional encounters. These allow us to share the experiences of cursillistas around the world. During the SOL meetings, our sisters and brothers share their vision of the Cursillo message.
What is the Cursillo? Come join us and see.

October 2014

Introduction: Tonight we are going to talk about the “Business Structure of the Cursillo movement. In Cursillo parlance, the administrative board that makes the weekends happen is called a Secretariat. The Secretariats exist to preserve the dynamic unity of the Cursillo Movement. The goal of my talk is to describe the Secretariat Chair positions, and then how this plugs into the bigger structure of Cursillo leadership in the region and Nation.

Let me digress for a second. “God did not become a structure, He became man”. (Eduardo Bonnín) Mark 2:27 says, “Then he said to them, "The Sabbath(Law) was made for man, not man for the Sabbath(Law). Leadership in Cursillo is not about creating laws or limits, it is about sharing the Charism. However we still need people to foster team formation and to run sponsors workshops and secure a place to hold the weekend and to pay for the rent and supplies.

For the full transcript click here.