Have you ever told a friend something in confidence, expecting that your friend wouldn’t share that with anyone, and yet what you shared ended up being told to others? How did that make you feel? Were you able to trust that person after the breach of confidentiality? Confidentiality in our Cursillo groups is of utmost importance if our small groups are to be effective.
It was recently brought to our attention that confidentiality isn’t always being maintained in our community’s Cursillo groups. This lack of confidentiality creates an environment where the members of the group are not sharing because they can’t trust that what they share won’t be passed along to others. The result is ineffective grouping and damaged friendships. If members of a group can’t trust that what they share won’t be spread to others, what’s the point in having a Cursillo group?
One person tried to explain that sharing close moments was somehow ok. It is not ok without permission from the one who shared the close moment. Changing or omitting the names in someone’s sharing and then repeating it, breaks the confidentiality. Telling the story but changing a few or even many things, breaks the confidentiality.
Gossip can creep into our lives, taking various forms. Have you ever heard a petition presented by a member of the congregation that provided sufficient detail that you felt uncomfortable when you heard it because you knew who was referred to in the petition? Wouldn’t a simple “For a special intention” or offering the petition in silence have been more appropriate to protect the identity of the person for whom the petition was offered?
Please, let’s respect one another by not sharing information that should be confidential, no matter the form or forum. There exists a very hard line that we do not share anything from our grouping. Please, do not cross that line.
When we each lived our Cursillo weekend, at the beginning of the weekend in the rollo room, we were told that what was to be shared and discussed in the rollo room should not be shared with others. The expectation of confidentiality is crucial for effective witnessing and table discussions. The same confidentiality applies to our small groups.
If this is happening in your group, follow the directions in Matthew 18:15-17. Talk to the person. If the behavior does not change, have the entire group talk to the person. If you’re not comfortable with such a confrontation, consider discussing this article or the topic of confidentiality with your group. You could print this article and bring it to your group as a starting point. It may take time for the person to change their behavior.
It takes time and effort for our groups to grow and be a place where all issues can be freely discussed. We need to be able to trust all members in our group. Our Cursillo groups, when effective, help to advance our ongoing conversion. Together, we can work to support one another by giving everyone the courtesy and respect that they deserve. We need each other. Don’t let your group down.
Tom and Diane Repucci
Have you ever wondered why grouping is a part of so many of our Cursillo gatherings such as Ultreya, School of Leaders, team meetings and Secretariat? Cursillo is a journey of friendship which develops by spending time together, thereby providing others an opportunity to know us better. When we share our experiences, our ideals, our failures, our aspirations we deepen those friendships.
As a result of having lived a Cursillo weekend, we should be able to see Christ in every situation, every moment. Group reunions and grouping at various Cursillo gatherings, provide us with an opportunity to share how we have seen Christ and how we are leading others to Christ. The group reunion is a method for sharing the type of Christianity which we are living or are striving to live. It is friendship elevated to the highest level – friendship transformed into actual grace.
Grouping is the most important activity we do in Cursillo according to Cursillo literature.
“We must bear in mind that Group Reunions are not held so that there
may be people to attend the Cursillos, but the Cursillos are held so that there
may be people to make a Group Reunion.”
Eduardo Bonin, Bernardo Vadell, Francisco Forteza,
Cursillos in Christianity, Structure of Ideas (page 80).
The little orange book “THE REUNION OF THE GROUP” covers grouping in detail. You can get a copy from your Ultreya rep or at School of Leaders. From the book, our grouping should have 3 parts: The first part is based on sharing the Love of God: Piety, Closest Moment, Study and Action. The second part is based on Love of Neighbor: Apostolic Success, Failure and Was the Apostolic Plan of the Previous Week Fulfilled? The third part is The Plan: What are we going to do in the coming week?
Group reunions should meet regularly. Weekly grouping is recommended because our spiritual life needs regular nourishment. The group members should be serious and sincere in their sharing. The group reunion isn’t intended to be a social hour. Confidentiality is crucial so that group members may share openly and honestly without concern that what is shared will be spread to others. Changing or omitting the names in someone’s sharing and then repeating it, breaks that confidentiality. Please do not share anything from your group.
If we are truly living the Cursillo method, great personal effort is required. Christian living is not a spectator sport; rather, it is an adventure which at times, requires boldness. If your group is not working out for you, perhaps it is time to change groups. Honesty with the existing group about your need to grow in a different direction should be shared with that group. We challenge you to review your group. Our group reunion should be something we look forward to each week. It should be a gathering of very honest friends, who help us stay focused on what is truly important.
May we each continue to grow through this journey of friendship.
Leader. What does that word conjure up in your mind? Fearless champion?
Confident proponent of a worthy cause?
On the second day of the three day Cursillo, the Leaders rollo is given. In that rollo, we learn that a leader is someone who helps bring about the Christian transformation of society.
From the Leaders outline, we learn of four supernatural qualities of a leader; faith, humility, hope and love. We all need to practice living a bold faith, trusting in the grace of God, knowing that we are instruments of God. We can expect that God will provide us with everything we need, if we have given our utmost effort. With humility, we have awareness that we are the Lord’s instruments. Our talents have been given to us by God so that we may put them to use for Him. Hope, as a supernatural quality, is a virtue that increases when all human hope ends. Christian love seeks to find the good in others. All of these qualities are important in helping us to live out our baptismal call of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
One definition of a leader is someone who can influence others. When viewed with that definition, we are all leaders. Think about the people you encounter on a daily basis: your family, coworkers, neighbors, etc. Many, if not all of the aforementioned, are people that you may influence.
In our families, how are we transforming our family into the family of God? Do we exhibit Christian living by praying daily, attending Mass, receiving the sacraments, helping others, being generous with our time, talent and treasure? In the workplace, do we exhibit the qualities of a Christian by not participating in gossip or conversation that demeans others? Do we give our employer an honest day’s work? In our neighborhood, are we a good neighbor by helping others in their time of need and by welcoming newcomers?
Being a leader doesn’t mean that we don’t make mistakes. Rather, our mistakes provide us with an opportunity to humbly acknowledge our error and correct our course. At a leadership meeting we recently attended, the speaker said “Failure
is the breakfast of champions.” Through our failures, we experience humility and acquire knowledge which can ignite our desire to do better as we go forward.
You are a Christian leader, whether you want to be or not. Anyone who knows you attend church will view you differently from others. Remember, your best leadership may be the example you set for other people as you live your daily life. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the supernatural qualities of a leader. All of your actions can help other people recognize God every day.
Cursillo and the Leaders Rollo call us to fully live out our Baptismal call. The world will receive the good news through lives that radiate the joy, peace and love of Christ.
About 140 people from seven states attended the March Region VI Spring Encounter in Kansas City, Kansas. Eighteen English, Spanish and Vietnamese Cursillistas from the Twin Cities attended. Each of the three language groups had sessions in their respective language.
The topic of the Encounter was the new Cursillo Weekend Manual called The Step by Step Rector’s Guide. These new manuals will be printed and available sometime in the next two years. Then, it will be up to each Diocese to decide what adaptions they will make to their Cursillo weekends. The presenters attempted to convey why Eduardo planned the Cursillo weekend as he did. Below are a few of the highlights.
The Step by Step allocates a block of time for each Rollo, e.g., two hours. This includes the table discussion, chapel visit, work on the poster (yes after each Rollo) or take a break. After the Rollo is given, the members at each table decide what order of the tasks and how much of each is best for their table. This allows each table the freedom to progress at their own pace. This is similar to group reunions.
The rollistas do not dress up to give a Rollo. This is like Ultreya when an Ultreya member gives the witness. When it’s time for their rollo, the rollista gets up from their table and goes to the candidates’ chapel to receive a blessing from the entire Rollo team.
Eduardo’s Step by Step does not have individual palanca as part of the weekend. Eduardo’s reasoning was that receiving individual palanca can unduly influence candidates while they are encountering self and Christ. Any individual palanca is given to the candidates at the end of the weekend in what we call the Food for the Journey packet. General palanca (one letter to the weekend members) along with Palanca from around the world is part of the three day weekend on Friday.
Mañanitas are officially part of the weekends. “Mañanitas, if conducted properly, will encourage friendship and help build the bridge to the 4th Day. Mañanitas have been lived in Mallorca, Spain over 50 years and are part of the Step by Step Guide.” (From Day 3 of the Step by Step Workshop). Background: The Step by Step is the Rector’s Guide authored by Eduardo Bonnín and used in Mallorca. As stated by Eduardo in THIS IS THE WAY, “…every Cursillo weekend should offer those present as lively, simple, clear and true experience of the Christ of the Gospel as best as possible…. The encounter has to be between Christ and the person, face to face, one-on-one, and everything at the weekend Cursillo has to be focused on that one-on-one encounter.”
For the past two years, the U.S. Cursillo working group, with the assistance of the Cursillo leadership in Mallorca, has been reviewing and translating Eduardo’s notes for the Step by Step Rector’s Guide in preparation to introduce it to our Movement. The Step by Step Rector’s Guide consists of the Schedule of the Three Days and 16 Appendices that clarify and deepen the understanding of all that is pertinent to the Three Day Cursillo.
At the May 7th School of Leaders we will be a giving a presentation on this topic. Please join us!
Tom & Diane Repucci
We welcomed 36 new 4th Dayers into our community in February and March. The witnessing at the clausuras energized those in attendance. The joy of those witnessing was contagious.
Many from the fourth day community traveled to St. Joseph the Worker on the Friday and Saturday of the men’s and women’s weekends to support the weekends by attending a palanca Mass. Each of these Masses was joy filled. Father Marty Shallbetter celebrated the Mass on the Saturday of the women’s weekend and challenged us to be joy filled and to “welcome the kingdom of God like a little child” Mark 10:15. He asked us to think about and describe the attributes of a little child. Trusting, wondering, open, and happy were some of the answers. Father Marty said to imagine being a child holding the hand of Jesus and following his lead.
The excitement of the weekend starts to build when a parish says yes to hosting the weekends. This is done two years in advance of the Cursillo weekends. Rector and rectora are chosen and then announced. Teams are formed and meet for six weeks. Rollistas spend hours writing their rollos. Kitchen teams plan the meals and purchase the food. Musicians plan and practice music. Palanca team collects preference sheets and plans for rollista sendoffs.
Finally the liaison team works with the parish staff to plan for accommodations that need to be made to host the Cursillo weekends at the parish. Then there are the hours put in by the liaison team and many others setting up cots, showers, moving supplies to the various rooms, etc. It is all a labor of love and friendship. Those involved are offering their time and talent so that the candidates can experience Christ’s love and deepen their relationship with him.
Ask any of the previously mentioned volunteers if it was worth it and you are likely to receive a resounding “Yes!” as a response. We each remember what it was like when we experienced our weekend and we want others to have the opportunity to experience Christ’s love through friendship. Without the aforementioned volunteers and many others, Cursillo weekends wouldn’t happen.
You are needed on the next joy filled journey as a team member on the July Cursillo weekends. If you have never worked a weekend or if you have worked many weekends, you will meet new friends as you serve as the hands and feet of Christ. Team applications are on the website https://tc-cursillo.org. You will need to log in to be able to access the team application.
Are you unable to serve as a team member? Please consider supporting the team and candidates with your prayers and sacrifices.
Jane Marie Rief, at the March SOL, challenged each of us to invite five people to live a Cursillo weekend. If we each asked five people and of those, one person signed up, we would have an overflowing weekend. Let’s get out there and make a friend, be a friend and bring a friend to Christ.
Yours in Christ,
Prayer should be a two way conversation with God, however, discerning God’s voice and differentiating it from other voices (our own desires, someone else’s voice) is a challenging undertaking. The difficulty shouldn’t deter us from attempting to hear God’s voice. It takes practice and patience.
In my prayer life, there are many ways that God speaks to me. Sometimes it’s through one of the daily readings or reflections that resonates with me and highlights one of my weaknesses or disciplines on which I need to work. Through the sacrament of Confession, I sometimes receive insight as to how I may work to overcome a weakness.
Daily, I pray that I will be mindful of the promptings of the Holy Spirit and that I will respond to the Holy Spirit as he would have me respond. Recently, I had a thought that I should reach out to a friend that I didn’t see at Mass one Sunday. I called and left her a message, indicating that I had missed her at Mass and wanted to make sure that she was okay. She responded with an email, indicating that she was having a difficult time and that she appreciated my concern. I believe that the idea to reach out to my friend was a prompting from the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes God speaks to me through other people, such as members of my small group or my spiritual advisor. The book “Jesus Calling” is another manner in which God speaks to me with the frequent themes of do not be afraid, do not worry, and trust in God.
Back in September, I felt called to change my morning prayer to one based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Each day starts with a short Bible verse, opening prayer, a short reading, 1 minute for reflection, then 4 minutes of meditation to listen if God has something to say. The previous times I have used this devotional I did not get anything from the meditation time. This time through, I have been able to hear God calling me to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is. One morning I clearly heard that I should read the Gospel of Mark to better understand who Jesus is. That night, during evening prayers, Diane and I finished reading through the book of Ezekiel. The next night, we started reading the Gospel of Mark.
I believe that I have been led to a deeper understanding of how God responds to my prayers by how God has answered our prayers for direction for the monthly Kindling articles, daily prayers for the Cursillo movement and prayers for all the tasks we have needed to accomplish as Lay Directors.
How do you hear God speaking to you? God created each of us as a unique person so it’s easy to believe that he has unique ways to communicate to each of us. How are you responding to God’s call?
Our niece was married this past New Year’s Eve. Between her wedding and Christmas gatherings among friends, it was a very busy time. In helping with the last minute preparations for the reception, flowers, and preparing for out of town guests, it was sometimes hard to remember that this was really about the sacrament of joining two people into one with God.
Our Cursillo weekends can also become like that. We have the team meetings, the stress of writing the Rollos, planning the meals and the various other preparations. If we’re not careful and intentional, the focus can become about getting the tasks done and checking off to-do lists.
On the Cursillo weekend, the focus should be on the candidates. Making new friends and being friends with the candidates is how this is accomplished. The Cursillo weekend may be the first time the candidates have ever felt comfortable enough to share their thoughts about how they view God, religion and what ideal they will strive for in their lives. We need to stay focused so that the busyness of the weekend does not interrupt those conversations.
It is very important to allow the candidates to do more of the talking than we do. The weekends provide an opportunity for the candidates to become comfortable speaking about their beliefs. Our role as a team member is to be an active listener, giving the candidate our undivided attention. We need to set aside any distracting thoughts. Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal, but rather, encourage the candidate to continue with small verbal comments like “Yes” and “uh-huh.”
Personal growth will occur if we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us individually and collectively on the weekend. Remember that metanoia happens on God’s timetable. We need to let go of any expectations we have for how the candidates may be affected by the weekend. The candidates will need time to process all of the information they are receiving on the Cursillo weekend. Cursillo teaches a method that allows for continuous, progressive, conversion. The metanoia may occur long after the weekend has ended.
Serving as a team member is a great gift to give and to receive. The palanca we do leading up to the weekend is a powerful component of our preparation. Prayer and sacrifices offered for the team and candidates pave the way for the metanoia that may occur. You give of your time and talents. What you receive can come in many forms: new friends, both of other team members and new Cursillistas, the experience of serving in a new capacity, deepening of your relationship with Christ, and many other forms. We, too, should be drawing closer to Christ.
We mentioned to our niece and her fiancée that every so often they should slow down and look around so that they will remember the moments. We should do the same on the weekends.
Our Cursillo experience started when our friends, Jim and Mary Carr asked us to make the three day weekend. This is how it usually begins, with the three day weekend and continues with joining our friend’s weekly group and monthly Ultreya. Cursillo is not just the weekend and it is not just the grouping, however, making a three day Cursillo weekend is a great way for people to discern if the method of grouping and Ultreya are a method which could help them to grow in their faith.
Through Cursillo, we learned that we, as Christians, are on a path of continuous progressive conversion. This means that we should always be on a path that leads us closer to Christ. If we have lived a Cursillo weekend, it doesn’t mean that “we have arrived”, rather, our eyes have been opened to how we can be better Christians. For us, it awakened our awareness to our baptismal call of bringing others to Christ. That is where the making a friend, being a friend and bringing that friend to Christ comes into our consciousness. To do so requires deliberate effort. For some, this is very natural. For others, more effort is needed to work this process. The Holy Spirit is always available to guide us in the process. All we need to do is to ask for the assistance.
Our weekly groups can help us by giving us a place to share our action plans and the action we have taken to carry out our plans. Our groups can provide ideas, encouragement and support. Consider inviting your friend to join your weekly group. It isn’t necessary for that friend to have lived a Cursillo weekend before joining your group. If they join your small group, they will have the opportunity to meet your Christian friends and experience how the small group can be beneficial to one’s Christian journey.
There is an expression, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems begin to look like a nail.” In our spreading the word about Cursillo, we need to be aware that the people in our environments are each on their own spiritual journey. This is another reason we need to make a friend and be a friend. We need to learn more about that person and understand if Cursillo is really the right method for them to grow where God has placed them.
Cursillo provides us with a framework for being a better Christian. It calls us to a proper balance of our piety, study and action. There are many other opportunities for growth. The Spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Life in the Spirit seminars and being involved in our parish communities are other ways in which a person’s faith life may experience new growth.
Remember to pray for your friends, even if they don’t say yes to the Cursillo.
Each advent season we look forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior on Christmas Day. We have four short weeks to “prepare the way for the Lord” Mark 1:3. Such preparations might include prayers using an advent wreath, setting up a Christmas tree or setting up a Nativity Scene.
Just as Jesus came into the world as the “Light of the World”, we each have a responsibility to bring light into our environments. More than ever, our world needs this light. Extending assistance to someone in need, visiting the sick and homebound, being attentive and really listening to someone who is hurting, are all ways in which we can bring light into the world this Advent. We each have a unique set of gifts and talents that can be used to be light in this world.
One way that we can bring light into this world is by sponsoring a candidate or working a Cursillo weekend. Would someone in your environment be a possible candidate for Cursillo? Start by praying for discernment. Working on team is a growth opportunity for the team members and provides an opportunity for candidates to experience Christ’s love.
Perhaps a meditation for this advent would be to think about who has brought light into your world. Maybe it’s your spouse, or a good friend who has helped you through a really difficult time. Consider telling that person how you appreciate the light they have brought to you. A note of appreciation might brighten their day. If the person that you are remembering is no longer alive, remember them in prayer.
An idea for meditation that can result in action is “Do I treat everyone I meet as I imagine I would greet the Christ Child?” The sense of awe and wonderment that we have of Jesus’ birth should be the same feeling we have towards everyone we encounter, as each person is a child of God. This idea can be summed up in the lyrics from a popular Christian song: “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, I want to see you.”
We might try to meditate on why God didn’t come to earth fully grown. This might lead to understanding that growing, learning, and living the Cursillo Method is part of what God wants us to experience. Working a weekend is a way to further our knowledge. Grouping with someone new who recently made a weekend might bring new life to your group.
As we carefully unwrap our decorations and set up the tree and nativity scene, we should contemplate how we will treat each person we come into contact with this Advent and Christmas season. They are infinitely more valuable in God’s eyes than the decorations.
Wishing you and your family a blessed Advent!
We decided to make an adventure of our trip to the Cursillo Region 6 Fall meeting by inviting some dear friends of ours, Joe and Therese Frederick, to join us. The four of us set out on a fall morning and stopped at St. John’s University to view the Saint John’s Bible. The display of this illuminated, handwritten Bible of monumental size is something to see. Reading the displays, we learned the history of The Saint John’s Bible and read about the calligraphers and illustrators who created this Bible. To say that the calligraphy and illustrations are beautiful, greatly understates this work of art.
After lunch, we had a private tour of The Saint John’s Pottery, a pottery studio located on the campus of St. John’s University. During the tour, we learned that the kiln is fired up once every two years. That means pottery sits on a shelf for several months until the kiln is fired up. Imagine yourself as the potter, creating something by hand and having to wait for a long period of time to see the end result.
The 87 foot long firebrick kiln at The Saint John’s Pottery consists of three chambers. The location of the pottery in the various chambers produces different finishes and colors on the pottery. How the pottery pieces are arranged on the shelves within the kiln also affects the outcome. It takes 7 weeks to load the kiln with the hundreds of pieces of pottery to be fired. Great care is taken in arranging the pottery within the kiln. The pottery undergoes firing for 10 days. During the 14 day cooling period, the doors of the kiln remain closed: NO PEEKING! If cool air enters the kiln by way of a door being opened prematurely, pottery within the kiln may crack. Finally it takes about one week to unload the kiln.
Reflecting on this process, we were struck by the life lessons in the cycle of creating pottery. Patience is needed to see the final outcome of the pottery created. Trust is another lesson, as many people are involved in the loading, firing and unloading of the kiln. Letting go of control is also needed, as you don’t know what the color of your pottery will be after it has been fired. Dependence upon others is another lesson as many people are required for the various steps.
These life lessons apply to our evangelization efforts as we reach out to make a friend, be a friend and bring a friend to Christ. Building a friendship develops over time (patience.) We may not know the outcome of our evangelization efforts (trust.) The outcome of the invitation to your friend to have a relationship with Christ is out of your control (letting go.) Others brought your friend to the point where they would be receptive to your invitation, and perhaps others will finish the conversion (dependence on others.) Holy Spirit, help us to persevere in our efforts to build the Kingdom of God.
Tom & Diane Repucci
Welcome 4th Day!