Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 20, 2004
Meet the Cursillo movement
Followers gather to honour 60 years of growth, evolution
By MARIA KRUSZEWSKI
Special to the WCR
They came by chartered bus and by car, following festive coloured ribbons through small towns and down winding streets to the church. They joyfully sang and celebrated at Eucharist, knowing they were supported by the prayers of Cursillistas all over the globe. On Aug. 20, 2004, Cursillistas gathered on the Spanish island of Mallorca for "a celebration of the Cursillo movement having matured after 60 years of life."
The Sea and Pines
The world's first Cursillo was held at a chalet dubbed The Sea and Pines in the small coastal town of Cala Figuera from Aug. 20-23, 1944. The founder of the Cursillo movement, Eduardo Bonnin, two friends and a priest presented the Cursillo message to a group of 14 others. At the time, they never imagined the far-reaching consequences of their desire to share a practical way to live in constant awareness of God's love.
In the weeks leading up to the 60th anniversary celebrations, prayer requests were sent out via email, and the Mallorcan Cursillo community received many communiqu‚s of prayer and congratulations from Cursillistas the world over on the evening of Aug. 20.
Mass was celebrated in the church at Cala Figuera, and participants sang De Colores, a Spanish folksong special to Cursillistas around the world, as they walked through the streets of the town to the site of the first Cursillo. A special tile plaque, a gift from the Portuguese Cursillo movement, had been placed on a wall of the Sea and Pines chalet in commemoration of the event, and, Eduardo Bonnin, now 87, unveiled the plaque by removing the colourful bow that covered it.
It is impossible to calculate the number of people who have attended Cursillos and have heard the Gospel message boiled down to its clearest form, God Loves Us, in the 60 years since the first Cursillo weekend. Cursillo came from the United States to Canada in 1963, and it now stretches across the country from Victoria to St. John's.
It began as a Catholic movement, but in recent years, Cursillo has been shared with other denominations and is now active within the Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and United churches in Canada.
Different cultures have also adopted it as a powerful tool of evangelization. Since the fall of communism, it has found a place in former communist countries such as Czechoslovakia and Hungary. In Canada alone, there are Korean, Vietnamese, Hungarian, Chinese and Hispanic movements, and francophone movements exist in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick.
In Alberta, Cursillo communities exist in the Grouard-McLennan, Edmonton, and Calgary dioceses, and there is a large movement among aboriginal peoples that includes Cursillistas around Standoff and Gleichen in the south, some in the cities of Calgary and Edmonton, around Enoch, Cold Lake, and into Saskatchewan.
In the words of Pope John Paul, at a world gathering of Cursillistas for the jubilee year: "This personal and community experience must be passed on to others. Many men and women of our time, who unfortunately turn away from God, expect from (Cursillistas) the light of faith that will help them rediscover the colours of life and the happiness of feeling loved by God."