What is Cursillo?
Cursillo began on the island of Majorca during World War II. The Spanish Civil War had ended in 1939. Before the war, a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James at Compostela had been planned. After being postponed several times by the war, it was rescheduled for 1948. The pilgrimage set a tone, a spirit of brotherhood among fellow pilgrims who are striving together to reach the goal of a life fully given to the love of God and man. As a result of the preparations for the pilgrimage, there developed a greater interest in finding an effective way to work apostolically. Catholic Action was responsible for was the lay apostolate in Spain and in the process of this pilgrimage, the leaders of the young men's branch on the island of Majorca became the founders of the Cursillo Movement.
The first years, from 1948 to 1955, were the formative years and during that time, the Cursillo method was developed and refined. The first Cursillos were just little courses given by the diocesan council of the young men's branch of Catholic Action. By 1955, Cursillo became separate from Catholic Action and became its own entity. Today the Cursillo Movement is all over the world.
The first Cursillo in the U.S. was held in Waco, Texas, in 1957. It was put on by two airman from Spain who were receiving Air Force training and by Father Gabriel Fernandez who had taken his Cursillo from two of the founders of the Movement. The first Cursillo in Phoenix occurred in 1959.
In the late 70s, the Catholics
introduced Cursillo to the Episcopalians. In 1982, the Episcopalians introduced
it to the Lutherans and here we are today. The Movement has continued on to
other denominations in the form of Walk To Emmaus.
Purpose of Cursillo
The purpose of the Cursillo Movement is to make Christian community possible in neighborhoods, parishes, and work situations and the other places where people live the greater part of their lives. It attempts to make it possible for anyone in the world to live the Christian life in a natural way.