(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.What is Cursillo?
an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the teachings of Jesus and how we can serve him.

  • An experience of living in a loving and caring Christian community.
  • A continuing community that gives support and encouragement empowering the renewed Christians to persevere in carrying out their Baptismal vows.

Cursillo is a three-day weekend, held at DaySpring Conference Center in Ellenton, which begins on Thursday evening and ends on Sunday. During the three days, participants hear a variety of talks given by lay persons and clergy, who have spent time working together, planning and preparing for the Weekend. A Cursillo Weekend is not a retreat, with fasting or extended periods of silence. Rather, it is an experience in Christian education, where participants have an opportunity to meet clergy and laity who are seeking to strengthen their faith. Shared prayer, worship, study, music, fellowship, laughter, and tears all work together to create a loving atmosphere where one can feel the reality of God’s free and unconditional love. The Holy Eucharist is celebrated daily.

The first Cursillo Weekends were developed in the Roman Catholic Church in Majorca, Spain. Cursillo was brought to the United States by Spanish airmen who were stationed at air bases in Texas in the early 1940’s. The first official Cursillo Weekend in the Episcopal Church (in English) was conducted with the help of Roman Catholic sponsors in the Diocese of Iowa.

The first Cursillo weekends in the Diocese of Southwest Florida were held in 1978.  Beginning in September of 1977, the Diocese of Central Florida gave spaces on their weekends so that many from our diocese could attend.  By November of 1978 we had enough cursillistas to form the first teams with only a few members from Central Florida who wanted to help.  Rector and Rectora of Men’s Cursillo #1 and Women’s Cursillo #1 were Dan and Mary Lemon who had moved to St. Petersburg from Orlando where they were very active and had served on many teams.
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What happens after the weekend?

Participants, who return from the weekend with a renewed commitment to work for Christ, are encouraged to look for opportunities in their home churches and communities to follow the great commission of Christ: that we should be in the world to make disciples of all people, ministering God’s redemptive gifts of love and grace.
Cursillo provides a community of friends who provide each other strength and support in these efforts, so that each person may grow in faith and develop his/her own special gifts of ministry. This community meets in two types of groups:

  • Group Reunions – a small group of people who meet regularly (often weekly) for mutual encouragement and support through Prayer, Study, and Action.
  • Ultreyas (Diocesan, Regional, or Parish meetings) – a larger group of people who meet (often monthly) to share their Christian walk and to encourage each other in their efforts to evangelize their environments.

What is expected of participants?

  • To be open and willing to respond to what you experience, to share your feelings with others and to allow them to share theirs with you.
  • To make a genuine effort to discover where you are and how you can grow in your Christian life.
  • To feel secure in the knowledge that you are accepted where you are and as you are, and to know that a specific response is not expected of you.
  • To be curious enough and thirsty enough for spiritual exploration and nourishment to acknowledge a need to commit a weekend of your life to Christ.

Who can go to Cursillo?

Cursillo is open to all adult Episcopalians, who attend a church where a member of the clergy staff has gone to Cursillo. Clergy and laity who are seeking a way to deepen their faith or who wish to expand their knowledge of the Christian life are invited to join the fellowship. Husbands and wives may attend the same Cursillo weekend or may go on separate weekends.

Each participant has a sponsor, who has attended a Cursillo weekend. The sponsor assists you in preparation for the weekend and after the weekend. If you know someone from your parish who has attended a Cursillo, you can ask them about it. They can answer your questions and help you determine if you would like to go. You may also ask your priest about Cursillo. If you don’t know a person to sponsor you, your priest may make a suggestion. If you decide that you would like to attend a Cursillo, your sponsor can provide you with the application.

The current cost to participants for a Cursillo weekend in the Diocese of Southwest Florida is $190 per person. This includes lodging and all meals at DaySpring, for the three days. Special needs (such as diet restrictions or mobility problems) can be accommodated. Be sure to note any special needs on the application.