Cursillo takes up modern challenges


THE World Catholic Cursillo Movement was introduced in Brisbane in the late 1960s and since then thousands of people have experienced the movement’s life-changing influence.

Cursillo began on the Spanish island of Mallorca in 1944 when a group of young men felt the desperate need to bring Christ back to the lives of those struggling to recover from the Spanish Civil War and WWII.

Eduardo Bonnin was the leader of the movement.

He had led a rather sheltered life in a devout Catholic family until at the age of 19 he entered compulsory military service away from home.

In his battalion, the young man was in direct contact with laymen and laity of all social classes and all ranks of life.

They were so tight as comrades, but so far from God. What could he do to help these “distant ones”?

The answer for Bonnin and the other founders was the creation of the Cursillo Movement.

They worked on a program to bring people to a greater knowledge of themselves, their God and others.

To do this, they worked in friendship to let everyone know that they are loved by God.

But what meaning can such a movement have in 2021? A lot it turns out.

The story repeats itself.

Today we face the same issues that Bonnin and his fellow evangelists were challenged to solve – fears of a new war; persecution of the Church; health problems – polio was the dreaded disease at the time; financial crises and secularization.

After the War: Pope Francis participates in a memorial prayer for the victims of the war in Hosh al-Bieaa (Church Square) in Mosul, Iraq. Photo: CNS

Then as now, the psychological toll was immense, leading to a huge increase in mental health problems and suicides.

In 2021, health concerns are at the forefront as the war against Covid-19 continues.

COVID crisis: Indonesian priest Father Yustinus Ardianto runs a makeshift isolation ward at a Catholic Church training center in Jakarta. Photo: CNS

It’s easy to imagine how people must have felt in times of war when there wasn’t much else being talked about.

Today, as in Bonnin’s time, people disconnected from their faith are in search of meaning.

Pope Francis spoke of the need in the modern world for “Spirit-filled evangelists, empowered by the Holy Spirit – missionaries filled with joy ablaze with the love of Christ who boldly and courageously share the love of God. in their own homes, families, workplaces, neighborhoods and social circles where so many people are distant or indifferent to God. ”(The joy of the Gospel)

And this is where Cursillo has in the past – and still can – deliver the necessary discovery of Christ in our seeking society. “Be a friend, make a friend and bring a friend to Christ” is his message.

The Cursillo Method offers a continuous journey starting with a 3-day weekend.

It is a lay movement within the Church, supported by our Archbishop. The 3-day weekends are animated by committed lay people with the support of a resident priest.

The Movement arrived in Brisbane in the late 1960s and since then 5,000 people have experienced what Cursillo has to offer.

Lives have changed and parishes have been enriched by these people who return and often become more involved in parish ministries.

However, somewhere along the way in the bustle of modern life, the influence of the movement began to wane. The pillars of the movement knew that such a precious source of grace and energy, with its influence towards a society in search of research, could not be lost.

The Brisbane Cursillo movement recently held a renewal workshop at the Wynnum Parish Center, attended by around 50 people.

This workshop gave members the opportunity to focus on how the challenges of evangelism have changed over the years and how the movement can meet these challenges.

Cursillo member Peter McMahon said the meeting renewed the resolve of all concerned to once again invite people to take the three-day Cursillo weekend trip.

“We are planning to hold 3-day weekends at the start of 2022, one for women and one for men,” he said.

“No one is excluded. Young, old, single, married, widowed, divorced, practicing and non-believers, all are welcome.

For more information about Cursillo and what it has to offer, contact Rosemary Haydock (0431464211 or [email protected]) or Peter McMahon (0407588014 or [email protected]).

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