Cursillo is a ‘little course’ to evangelize the individual

South Carolina Cursillo, Cursillistas, Ultreya

South Carolina Cursillo, Cursillistas, UltreyaCursillo brothers and sisters appointed new leaders and discussed the authenticity of the movement at a regional meeting Sept. 26.

Held at Jesus Our Risen Savior Church in Spartanburg, the event drew 28 core leaders, who had the chance to hear Ceferino Augillon, the Cursillo national coordinator, talk about their future.

“Our purpose is the salvation of souls, and he talked about ways to do that by building small Christian communities,” said Pam Rice, coordinator for the Upstate school of leaders.

One thing they will continue to do is spread the word — in more ways than one.

Although the movement has grown since it was first established in South Carolina 31 years ago, it still suffers from lack of recognition.

Brian Pusateri, a former lay director, said when he and his wife were looking to relocate, they almost rejected the Upstate because the parishes did not have a Cursillo group. It took wise words from a church member who asked, “Have you considered that God wants you here to start Cursillo?”

So Pusateri moved to the area and on his first day at his new job, he met another Cursillista who was looking for a group. They started one at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Simpsonville and now, 10 years later, have a strong group of 12.

Recently, he said God also led him to join Immaculate Conception Church in Hendersonville, N.C., where he has started another Cursillo group with the aid of the new pastor.

Cursillo means “little course” in Spanish and is a worldwide spiritual renewal movement endorsed by the Vatican.

The little course part is a three-day weekend retreat, followed by what Cursillistas call the fourth day, which is the rest of your life.

Pusateri said many people believe the retreat is what Cursillo is all about, but that is a fallacy. He said the good feelings that people bring home from retreats fade quickly in the real world, which is why the fourth day is so important.

This is when Cursillistas join together to provide continuous support through weekly small group meetings and monthly Ultreya meetings, which is Spanish for moving onward.

 “The goal of Cursillo is to evangelize the world for Christ,” Pusateri said. “In the real world, you’re going to get a bloody nose when you try to take the message of Christ to people who don’t want to hear it.”

He said people who don’t commit to the method of meeting after the retreat are bound to get discouraged.

Marcia Delmore, a member of Our Lady of Peace in North Augusta, said she made her first Cursillo retreat in 1999 and has been involved ever since.

“I definitely was at a point where I wanted to grow in my relationship with Christ,” she said.

Since then, she has suffered the death of her father and the tragic loss of a daughter in a car accident. Delmore said she would not have survived it without her faith and the support of her Cursillo group. 

God has led her to spend more time helping other parents mired in grief and to speak about safe driving at schools, Delmore said, but she is still involved in Cursillo. She plans to attend an upcoming school of leaders, which are located in the Upstate and Coastal deaneries.

She encourages people to make a Cursillo retreat and listen for the voice of the Lord.

“God knows why they are there, and touches their lives in the way they need,” she said.