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What is Cursillo?

A Brief Explanation?

Cursillo (Kur see' oh) in Christianity is a Catholic Movement which gives life to the essential Christian truths for each of us individually. In discovering our potential and accepting our limitations, we live our faith with conviction, decisiveness and constancy, sharing with those God puts in our life.


To explain the experience of Cursillo to someone who has never experienced Cursillo is at best, difficult. And worse in this cold web site. Asking your fellow parishioners, who made Cursillo  would be better. We can give you their names. Send an email under the "Contact" tab.  Often, for those who already have experienced Cursillo, it is still somewhat mystifying. This is not because the Cursillo Movement is some sort of a "secret" organization. The reason behind this is the mystery of God. No one can fully explain how God touches each person in His special/unique way through the various elements of the Cursillo Movement. However we will attempt to explain the human aspect behind the Cursillo Movement. Cursillo is a relatively conservative movement, fully accepted by the Roman Catholic Church.

During your Cursillo, we look forward to your experience as; 

1. An encounter with you, yourself;  To discover ourselves and our own worth on a more fundamental level.

2. An encounter with God; To experience the presence and love of Jesus, the Christ.

3. An encounter with other people; To become aware of our loving and caring  Christian Community.


What is the meaning of the word Cursillo?

Cursillo (pronounced cur-see-you) means "little course" in the fundamental teachings of Jesus; as it is lived by Christians.  It is Spanish since it was founded in Spain by Eduardo Bonnin. The goal of the Cursillo Movement is to make Christ the prime influence in todays society. The Cursillo is often described as a retreat; however, it differs from the typical silent retreat. While there is some quiet time and considerable time for prayer, there is more time for discussion with your peers than in most retreats.  The three day course begins on Thursday evening and ends on Sunday afternoon.  It is conducted by a team of laypersons, priests, deacons and religious. Cursillo is best described as an experience of living in a Christian community. The experience of Cursillo enables one to sense more vividly the enthusiasm of the first Century Church  as described in the Acts of the Apostles 2:44-47: They devoted themselves to the Apostles" instruction and the communal life, to the breaking of the bread praising God and winning approval of all the people. Day by day the Lord added to their number.


The History of Cursillo?

The Cursillo Movement is a movement within the Catholic Church.  Cursillo is often associated with a 3-Day weekend. There is much more than just the three-day weekend.  This Movement started in Spain, in 1940, bringing the young men to know Christ better. They had been working to bring men to Christ, so they could then work together to Christianize the world.  The first Cursillo in the USA was held in Waco, Texas, in 1957.  In  1962, Cursillo began to blossom in the US Catholic Church.  We are proud that as of the coming of the 2000s, there are over 600 dioceses of the US Catholic Church with an active Cursillo Movement.  In 1965, Lou & Liz Pauly introduced it to the Catholic Church at Buffalo. Weve held about 200 weekends in Buffalo, and (about) 75 priests, 40 Deacons, 200 Sisters, 2,300 laymen, and 2,500 laywomen have made a Cursillo weekend. Most of the parishes in our Diocese have The Cursillo Movement is a movement within the Catholic Church.


What is the purpose of Cursillo? 
Our Cursillo Community wants to provide for us, a method of living a Christian life, where all of our spirituality may be deeply developed, lived and shared by the methods of Cursillo. The three-day weekend is a joyous, fun  -  introduction into a supportive and growing community of friends of Christ, where today, now, in our daily experiences :  men and women can work together to bring Christ into our everyday lives.  The Cursillo method, in our community is designed to:  Make it possible to live in union with Christ, and to desire to bring others to Him. 


Is Cursillo part of the Catholic Church?

Yes. Cursillo, similar to Mission, Marriage Encounter, Charismatic Renewal, Christian Family Movement and other renewal programs; all are part of the Roman Catholic Church and the Diocese of Buffalo. Our Bishop has made a Cursillo. Mission was developed by Cursillo as a mini retreat for parishes. Making a Mission can often lead to making a Cursillo Weekend.

What happens after a Cursillo weekend?

Your weekend only lasts three days, but you are invited to build on it for the rest of your life. This is a very important and key element of our Cursillo Movement. Cursillo expands your spiritual lives through prayer, study, and action, so it enables you to become a more active disciple of Christ. Throughout our Diocese, we have monthly Ultreyas, which are friendly prayer groups, where we meet, pray, share our faith, and often have a witness talk of How Christ is in our life. This spiritual follow up keeps our members spiritually stronger, and this follow up, special to Cursillo; is a need of ALL of us. This is one of the Cursillos greatest assets. It is often said that "we" never expected praying and being in a Catholic Community could be so much fun.


Is Cursillo another organization?

There is no formal organization of Cursillo.  Activities for each Diocese are planned by a Lay Director,by an ordained Spiritual Director, and a group of Lay Leaders. Those who attend Cursillo weekends are encouraged to return to their families, parishes, places of work, and other groups to which they belong; and through their example;  make Christ more present.


What is a Cursillo weekend like?

The weekend consists of spiritual talks, discussion, daily Mass, prayer time, and the availability of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The "talk" parts are built around 15 short presentations given by laypersons, clergy and religious. After each instruction small groups discuss the material presented.

Who may attend a Cursillo weekend?

Cursillo is only for those can receive the sacraments of the Catholic Church.The Cursillo weekend is held separately for men and women, any catholic 18 years or older (including priest, deacons, and religious)  Many have made the three day Cursillo weekend. 


The Next Step

Your 1st, and best step, is to pray about it.

The 2nd best step is continue to pray about it.

The 3rd step is to find the "RIGHT" Cursillo member to be your sponsor. 

It should be a Cursillo person, and one that is a friend of yours, --- but  who?

There are a couple of paths to find your Cursillo sponsor, and we hope to direct you. Many of the Priests and Deacons in Buffalo have made a Cursillo. Ask the Priest or Deacon in your own parish. If they have not made a Cursillo, they may know a Cursillo person in your parish. Many of the Lectures, Ministers, religious education or CCD teachers have made it.

The Buffalo Cursillo Community developed for parishes the Parish Mission. If your parish has MISSION,  many on the Mission Team have made a Cursillo. And often it is said that Mission is the stepping stone to the deeper Cursillo experience. After making a Cursillo Weekend, at a Cursillo Mass, the person said "Mission was wonderful, but today I see Mission as 101 in my pray life  and Cursillo as graduate School"

You may know a person at work that has made a Cursillo. We have a section, called PRE-CURSILLO for accepting candidates through sponsors.



We hope to show you why you should have a Sponsor. "Make a Friend, Be a Friend and Bring a Friend to Christ."

The above statement is one of the most basic tenants of our Cursillo movement, especially when a member sponsors a new candidate.

Another is: "Talk to God about your friend, before you talk to your friend about Cursillo."

When is a holy and good candidate ready to make their journey to be closer to Jesus Christ by making their own Cursillo?  Cursillo is also sometimes called a three day experience, or a " the Cursillo retreat". Well, it is good if a candidate has some specific and some general attributes. Specifically, and most important, the candidate must be a fully practicing Catholic, and be able to fully receive the sacraments of our Church.

Ideally the spouse should also meet this criteria. These general attributes are difficult to explain in this web page. Cursillo is for those who are committed to a relationship with Jesus Christ, and pray every day. Cursillo can strengthen that relationship in a new special way. But, often the person making the Weekend needs some direction to strengthen and help them in their Christian Action. This is the role of their sponsor: teaching them the ongoing structure of the Cursillo Movement, after their weekend, which is a great help to the new person. There are separate Men's and  Women's weekends scheduled. The right time for you as a catholic candidate to make a weekend is difficult to determine.  So, this leads to our time tested rule of having an active sponsor for each new candidate.  Another of our time tested preferences is to have the husband  make the  weekend first,  and then sponsor his wife. A great, great joy comes from being a sponsor of your spouse.

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