Cursillo is Spanish for “Short course”. It is a co-ed weekend intensive course in being a Christian and a carrier of The Good News of Christ. It is held twice a year (spring and fall) at the Diocesan retreat center at Camp Stevens, in Julian, over a Thursday evening, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It consists of short lectures, prayer, and lots of singing. The following weekend, a follow-on “Fourth Day” meeting is held at an Episcopal Church in the San Diego area. The main focus of the Fourth Day is to instruct the newly-initiated Cursillstas on forming “Groupings”, which I consider to be the most important part of Cursillo.

A Grouping is a group of 3 – 8 same-gender Cursillistas who meet weekly, typically rotating the venue among the members’ homes. The grouping is somewhat like the “accountability group” in other denominations, and the members review their spiritual progress for the previous week. Typically, this review focuses on three areas:

Piety (e.g. attending church, daily prayer, etc.)
Study (e.g. bible reading, attending a theology class, reading theological websites/blogs, etc.).
Action (eg. apostolic action, evangelizing, helping out at a food pantry, etc.)

Special personal challenges can also be addressed in the Grouping. The Grouping host typically serves snacks, wine, and/or soft drinks, and it can be a great place to beta test new recipes. The Grouping typically lasts about an hour.

After completing Cursillo, Cursillistas can return to subsequent weekends to serve as volunteers in areas such as lecturing, helping in the kitchen, etc. From time to time, there are other celebratory pot lucks, etc.

Cursillo was started by the Roman Catholic church in Spain in the 1930’s. The Roman church has licensed the Episcopal Church to use their Cursillo format, and as a condition of that license the Episcopal Church must rigorously follow their curriculum.

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