Cursillo (pronounced kur-see-yo) is a Spanish word meaning “short course” or “workshop”. Cursillos® in Christianity give those who attend a living understanding of basic Christian truths and an opportunity to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Cursillo movement traces its roots back to Spain in the 1940’s. It came to the US in the late 1950’s, and in 1968 when the Orlando Diocese was formed, Bishop Borders gave his blessing for the formation of a local Cursillo movement. The first Cursillo in English in Orlando was held in 1970.
The purpose of Cursillo is to generate friendship among the people the Lord puts in our path, so that everyone, especially the far away – that is, those who are far away from God – may come to know the love of Christ. We share our faith by the example of how we live our lives, spreading our faith in the environment where we live, making friends, being friends and bringing friends to Christ.
We do this by organizing three-day Cursillo weekends. It begins on a Thursday evening and ends the following Sunday night. During those three days, we live and work together, listening to talks given by priests and lay persons. We attend Mass, receive Communion, pray the rosary and visit the Blessed Sacrament daily. We show people a method they can use to grow in the Three Encounters – Friendship with God, Friendship with Others and Friendship with ourselves. By growing in these encounters, we continue our ongoing conversion and come to live personally with Christ.
Our lives in Christ are sustained after the Cursillo weekend by small group reunions and Ultreyas. “Ultreya” is a Spanish word meaning Onward! It was used by pilgrims to greet and encourage one another along the way of their journeys. The purpose of Ultreya is to foster the atmosphere of Christian community — the place where we receive the nourishment we need for our spiritual and evangelical journey.
Pope Francis in his homily at World Youth Day said “Do not be afraid to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent. The Lord … wants everyone to feel the warmth of his mercy and his love.” This is the essence of what we seek to accomplish.