Cursillo – an instrument of Christian renewal

Friday, Nov. 27, 2020

Rita Stelmach
Special to the Intermountain Catholic
This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, many people have anxiety. They have lost hope. They are searching for peace, and want to deepen their connection to God.  
They don’t have to look far for this. Right here in the Diocese of Salt Lake City,  we offer a short course in Christianity called Cursillo. This short course was born out of the spirit of renewal in the Catholic Church that preceded the Second Vatican Council. Cursillo is a worldwide lay movement within the Catholic Church. Its mission is carried out in constant harmony with the Church to show the “strength of communion” that is both the style and the very essence of the people of God, as Pope John Paul II said at the Cursillo World Ultreya, to help Christianize the world by living out what is fundamental for being a Christian in our everyday lives, according to the National Cursillo. 
The Cursillo Movement began in Spain in the early 1940s, when a group of men dedicated themselves to bringing others to know, love and serve Christ better – as called for by the Baltimore Catechism – and to bring the light of Christ to the world. 
In 1957, the Cursillo Movement was introduced in the United States. All Cursillo weekends were held in Spanish until 1961, when English Cursillos began in the U.S.
The first English Cursillo in the Diocese of Salt Lake City was held in the 1960s, and has been active in Utah since. Our sincere gratitude and thanks for all the prayers and sacrifices made by those who gave so much in our diocese in its early days. In 2014 the spirit was renewed and the Cursillo weekends resumed in Utah. 
The Cursillos have been held in Kanab, at the Abbey of the Holy Trinity in Huntsville and at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Salt Lake City.  
The Cursillo Weekend begins with three days of joyful living and sharing – a short but intense course in Christianity. Because each person’s life circumstances are different and each has a very unique relationship with God, the Cursillo weekend is a personal experience and as such can’t be fully described. It must be lived and experienced to appreciate its richness and fullness. The Cursillo weekend is an encounter with oneself, Christ and others.
Throughout the weekend, participants pray together, attend daily Mass and have an opportunity to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion, and visit our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  
By the end of the weekend, candidates typically have a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and a better understanding of the power of the Holy Spirit. They leave the weekend knowing that they have been called to spread the Word of God. The Cursillo Movement’s goal is to bring hearts closer to Jesus Christ in order to transform society and be of service to the whole Church.  It is our mission to form small Christian communities to deepen spirituality in ourselves and others.
The Utah Diocesan Cursillo Movement invites all Utah Catholics to “Come and See.” If  you have lived your Cursillo in another diocese, please come join us. For information, text or email  Christine Christensen, 801-913-1181 or christine_01@ymail.com; Jose Rodriguez, 801-589-9119 or mar897@comcast.net; Art Romo, 801-834-5951 or romoart41@gmail.com; or Rita Stelmach, 801-647-0143 or rita.stelmach@gmail.com.
Information in this article came from the National Cursillo. 
Rita Stelmach is a member of the Diocese of Salt Lake City’s Cursillo Movement.

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