By Rodney Williams
Cursillo is the original three-day movement, and has since been licenced for use by several mainline Christian denominations, some of which have retained the trademarked Cursillo name, while others have modified its talks/methods and given it a different name.
The Cursillo focuses on showing Christian lay people how to become effective Christian leaders over the course of a three-day weekend. The weekend includes 15 talks, some given by priests and some by lay people. These talks are called "rollos". The major emphasis of the weekend is to ask participants to take what they have learned back into the world, on what is known as the "fourth day". The method stresses personal spiritual development, as accelerated by weekly group reunion (after the weekend).
To explain Cursillo to someone who has never experienced it is, at best, difficult. Often, for those who have experienced Cursillo it is still somewhat mystifying. The reason behind the mystery is God. No one can fully explain how God touches each person in His special/unique way throughout the various elements of the Cursillo movement.
Cursillo considers concepts that at one time seemed foreign to persons in the mainline denominations. Evangelisation is probably the one that comes to mind first. We automatically think of going out two-by-two (with Bible in hand) and knocking on people's doors. Although this method has been tested and tried, Evangelism can take many forms. In the Cursillo movement we approach Evangelism as a very natural act of being Christ-like within each of our daily activities.
We realise that while most people would like to live their lives in a Christ-like manner, the pressures of the world often make this difficult. The Cursillo movement provides a method and a technique to provide each of us with the tools, the mentality, the strength, and the support to make this natural type of Evangelism possible.
• Proclaiming the Gospel
• Fulfilling our baptismal responsibility (some of us were not even aware that our baptismal responsibility required us to do something)
• Leavening the environments
• Living what is fundamental for being a Christian.
We should not allow these statements to scare us off. These are nothing more than by-products of living our lives in a fully Christian manner. The Cursillo movement can assist each of us in developing a deeper understanding of what it means to be fully Christian.
Cursillo is intended to make saints and apostles. Saints are people who know God, who know God's love and grace, and who live their lives from this relationship. Apostles are saints who have a mission to share that same knowledge with others.
The goal of Cursillo is to use specific methods and tools to grow Christ-centered leaders for the work of mission and ministry. Still another way to put the purpose of Cursillo is in the phrase: "For us...for others." That is, it captures the Old Testament sense of the call of Abraham, "I will bless you so that you will be a blessing (Genesis 12:2)." This blessing is for a purpose - not just to be received - "for us", but also to be handed on "for others."
Cursillo attempts to reach its goals by:
• Helping Christians discover the depths of their faith to appreciate its reality and richness
• Inspiring Christians to pursue their mission in the world by hearing and heeding God's call
• Connecting Christians in networks that empower them to carry out their mission
• Holding up examples of Christians who are carrying out their mission in ordinary life settings.
In the next instalment, we will look at the various aspects of the unique Cursillo method, and the way that Cursillo fits into the ministry of the Church.
The annual Cursillo Retreat will be held this Saturday at 9am at St James Anglican Church, Adelaide. The guest speaker will be Bishop Philip Wright, Bishop of Belize. All Anglicans and Cursillistas are invited to be apart of this experience.