CHARLESTON—Men and women who join the Cursillo movement often say it is a life-changing experience, re-energizing their faith and zeal for sharing the Gospel.
Deacon Andre Guillet, spiritual director for the Cursillo movement in the Diocese of Charleston, hopes people will take part in the upcoming weekends at Our Lady of the Hills Church in Columbia.
The session for men is Sept. 15-18, and women will meet Oct. 13-16. Other sessions are planned for spring.
Currently 25 parishes will host Cursillo information sessions prior to the weekends. A complete schedule and more details about the program can be found at www.southcarolinacursillo.org.
Deacon Guillet, who serves at Christ Our King Church in Mount Pleasant, made his Cursillo in 1977 at a parish in Brooklyn, N.Y., after he saw how it changed several friends.
The lessons he learned about God’s love played a big role in his decision to become a deacon, he said.
“I usually tell people Cursillo is all about friendship with God and others,” Deacon Guillet said. “It assists people in being aware of God’s presence and actions in their lives, and in believing God has a plan for them. It offers them an ongoing support system so they continue to grow in holiness. You gain an understanding of the awesomeness of God, and learn how to reach out in everyday life to share with others the good news that God loves them.”
Cursillo weekends are open to adult Catholics of all ages. They start on Thursday night and usually end in the late afternoon on Sunday. The sessions include spiritual talks, testimonies and discussions, group prayer, daily Mass and reconciliation. Following the weekends, the group meets on a regular basis for ongoing personal spiritual development. People who complete a weekend are known as Cursillistas.
Over the years, other faiths have adopted the Cursillo format, but it remains a Catholic movement.
Deacon Guillet said the movement is helpful because Cursillistas continue to learn and grow in their faith through follow-up Ultreya groups that meet regularly.
“Cursillo helps people to see their faith through new eyes,” he said. “I know when I was in the hotel and restaurant business, I would read business motivation books to refresh my knowledge. Cursillo is that kind of motivation. You take three days to refresh your knowledge of God, your commitment to Christ. It’s a source of Christian awakening, putting you back on the right track.”
Robert Boackle, a member of Christ Our King Church in Mount Pleasant, said a Cursillo weekend led him to be more aware of God’s presence, and also encouraged him to form a circle of friends who are committed to their faith.
“The Cursillo movement opens our hearts to hear and see ever more deeply the good news offered by our Lord through His word and sacraments, and in our everyday lives,” Boackle said.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Cursillo is a retreat and that Robert Boackle is a member of Nativity Church. Cursillo is an ongoing experience, and Boackle is a member of Christ Our King Church in Mount Pleasant.