A BRIEF HISTORY OF CURSILLO
The first Cursillos
developed in the Roman Catholic Church
in Mallorca, Spain, in the late 1940s.
Under the leadership of their bishop,
several laymen began to formulate a way
to draw active laymen into the work of
"Christianizing" the everyday life
settings where they lived.
Eventually, the Cursillo Method found interested parties in
the United States. The first Cursillo Three-Day Weekend in the United States was
held in Waco, Texas, in 1957. At first, these were still held in the Spanish
language, and were available only to Roman Catholics. The first English speaking
weekend was in 1961 in San Angelo, Texas. In time a few Episcopalians were
invited to participate in the weekends.
The first official Three-Day Weekend in the Episcopal
Church was conducted with help from Roman Catholic sponsors in the Diocese of
Iowa in 1970. Soon, weekends were being held in various parts of the country.
The first Episcopal Cursillo Ministry Seminar was held in 1975 in the Diocese of
Dallas. The Episcopal Cursillo Ministry Committee was formed in Atlanta in 1979.
common aspect of the history of Cursillo shared by both Roman Catholics and
Episcopalians was the fascination with the Three-Day Weekends. For this reason,
in many places the Cursillo name was associated only with such weekend
experiences. However, deeper study revealed that the Cursillo Method involved
much more than just "putting on weekends." This has caused considerable
development within both ecclesial communities, resulting in a better
appreciation for what Cursillo is and a sharper, clearer understanding of how to
apply the Cursillo Method -- philosophically and practically.
Today, that development is proceeding. Such development is
characterized by a return to the roots of the movement, and a more comprehensive
attempt to define the purpose of the movement in simple, cohesive terms.
Cursillo is emerging as a mature instrument in the hands of committed clergy and
lay Christians to empower the "ministry of the laity."