An important milestone will be observed June 7 by those involved with Cursillo in the Diocese of Trenton.
Members of both the English and Spanish Cursillo movements will join for the first time in prayer and fellowship when they gather for a Mass at 8 p.m. in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold.
“Coming together as one unified movement at the Mass will only strengthen our commitment and show a true sense of Cursillo to others,” said Mary Weis, who serves as the lay director of the Cursillo Movement in the Diocese.
“Coming together like this, celebrating the joy of Cursillo for all to see, is something very special,” she said.
Cursillo, which is Spanish for “short course,” began more than 45 years ago in post-World War II Spain as a three-day weekend of intense spiritual reflection. The worldwide evangelization that is endorsed by the Holy Father and bishops throughout the world was adopted by the Diocese of Trenton in the early 1970s as a Spanish-language outreach, and the following year was introduced in English.
The goal of Cursillo movement members – known as cursillistas – is to grow in relationship with God, following the tripod method of study, piety and action to witness to God’s calling. Since community and fellowship are essential to help Cursillo members deepen their faith, they gather regularly to support and encourage one another through prayer and small group gatherings. Their faith is further deepened by receiving the Sacraments, praying the Rosary and the Way of the Cross and attending retreat weekends that consist of prayer, meditation, presentations led by lay and spiritual directors, and small group discussions. Cursillo leaders also meet monthly throughout the year for continuing education and Mass. Members in the same geographic area – an Ultreya – gather periodically for reinforcement of the Cursillo weekend tenets.
“[Cursillo] provides a simple method of living a Christian life where one’s spirituality may be developed,” said Weis, who with her husband, George, have been members of St. William the Abbot Parish, Howell, for more than 11 years. “It provides a simple method of living a Christian life where one’s spirituality may be developed, lived and shared. The Cursillo is designed to make it possible to live in union with Christ and to desire to bring others to him.”
In addition to the Spanish and English Cursillo members gathering for the first time on June 7, Weis noted that members from the Diocese’s Filipino and Vietnamese Cursillo movements have been invited to the Mass, which will be concelebrated by Msgr. Sam Sirianni, rector of St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral; Father Arian Wharff, parochial vicar of the Co-Cathedral, and Father Neiser Cardenas, parochial vicar in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, and spiritual director for the diocesan Spanish Cursillo. She also added that the Mass will occur less than a week before the Diocese’s newest Ultreya will convene for the first time in the Co-Cathedral on June 13. There are currently seven active Ultreyas, she said.
“Cursillo is all about community, sharing and evangelizing by living,” Weis said. “It is a movement in the Catholic Church to bring as many people together to live their lives according to God’s will… Cursillo is a way of life where you take what you learned on the weekend and apply it to your ‘Fourth Day’, that is, the rest of your life.”