FAQ’s by Marcia Allison

Some of you may be wondering what the Cursillo Ministry in the Diocese of Southwest Florida?   If you have ever been to a Cursillo weekend, you know it is a three day spirit filled weekend filled with talks, music, and prayer.   It is a guided journey to meet JESUS FACE to FACE in your daily walk.

What is Cursillo (Cur-SEE’-yo)? – Spanish word meaning “short course”, or in this case “A Short Course in Christian Living”, an opportunity to grow in faith and in spirituality.

Why do we do it?  The goal of the Cursillo Movement is to change environments for Christ, and candidates chosen for the weekend should be Christians who will be counted on to return to their environments for the purpose of witnessing to the power of the Holy Spirit in their own lives.   In other words, mentoring leadership qualities in current Christians, so we return to our parishes filled with a renewed spirit to lead others toward a closer walk with Christ.

Is it for a new Christian?  There are many renewal weekends and programs that are geared toward the “new Christian” or person seeking answers about the Episcopal faith.  Cursillo does not focus on conversion or faith answering questions like Alpha or other programs.  It is designed for the mature Episcopalian with a desire of God’s love, and to have a longing to do God’s work in the Church and in the world.

Are participants allowed to leave the weekend?  This was a surprising question for me, and I would like to squelch any misconceptions immediately.  No one is ever held hostage at DaySpring.  Your sponsor will drive you to DaySpring Episcopal Conference Center in Ellenton, FL as a part of their palanca to you.   Your sponsor will also arrange for your pick-up on Sunday, or pick you up themselves.  Each participant is encouraged to engage fully in the weekend without distractions of “the world” (i.e. cell phones, internet, or watches).  If it becomes apparent that this weekend isn’t the right time for you – arrangements can and will be made for your pick-up.

What is Palanca? Palanca is intercessory prayer, sacrifice, or works of mercy.  Palanca is basically the prayers and sacrifices we make for someone or something.   Prayer and self-denial are palanca. The word “palanca” is Spanish for a lever or crowbar.  In the sense in which it is used in Cursillo, it means Eucharist, Rosaries, fasting, prayers, and personal sacrifices which are offered on behalf of the Cursillistas or Pilgrims.

What is a Cursillista or Pilgrim?  A Cursillista is a participant whom has completed the three day weekend.  A pilgrim is referred to a participant on the weekend because it is referred to as a journey.

Are there Cursillo Secrets? You may have been told by some who have attended the weekend that they can’t tell you what Cursillo is all about or what goes on during a weekend. This is not true; there are surprises but no secrets! Everything that goes on during the weekend may be told to anyone. Cursillo literature is available to anyone.

What is Ultreya?  Ultreya is the place where all Cursillistas come together and grow as a witnessing apostolic community.  Guests (non-Cursillistas) are always welcome!  It is a great place to find out more info.  An Ultreya is not parish specific. Usually, parishes share the responsibility of hosting, and Cursillistas from all parishes are always encouraged to attend and bring a dish to share for dinner.  Someone will give a witness talk and grouping and of course the music we love to sing.  Your parish representative is a great resource to find out where to attend an Ultreya.