SPONSORING CANDIDATES FOR THE CURSILLO WEEKEND
Sponsoring candidates is one of the main aspects of the Pre-Cursillo, and the most important factor that contributes to the success of the Cursillo Weekend, and evidently to the evangelizing mission of the Catholic Church.
The Importance of the Pre-Cursillo
Our Fundamental Ideas (FI) assert that the three stages of our Cursillo Movement are so closely connected that they constitute an organic whole, and a failure in the functioning of any one of the three stages will have direct consequences on the other two, and therefore on the development of the Cursillo Movement as a whole” (FI # 201). The Fundamental Ideas of the Cursillo Movement state that, in the Pre-Cursillo stage, our Movement initiates the evangelizing process thatit must complete in order to accomplish its purpose. The Pre-Cursillo consists of these steps: (a) searching, selecting and preparing potential candidates for the Cursillo Weekend; (b) carefully preparing for theCursillo Weekend by coordinating all the spiritual, personal and material elements involved; (c) making plans to accompany the new Cursillistas in the Post-Cursillo to help them get mature in their faith, deepen their Christian commitment through their Group Reunion and Ultreya, and take their apostolic place in the world. Eduardo Bonnín, ourfounding father, focused on the person, but not on the environment. He keeps remindingus of converting ourselves and others, and consequently, the environments will be automatically and naturally transformed. Juan Capó Bosch used the following anecdote to illustrate the urgency of first“transforming the individual members and afterwards to place them where their talents are used wisely and, they can apply themselves effectively to the transformation of their world. All this is called “Christian Vertebra (Structuring) in the Environment”. A boy, who was traveling with his father in a traincompartment, kept asking his father questionsabout many things.
He hoped he could make his father forget his failure in geography atthe end of his last school term. Instead, his
father was annoyed because he could not read his newspaper peacefully. Suddenly, he noticed
a full-page advertisement featuring a map of the world. He tore it into small pieces of various sizes and
challenged his son to put them together again with a promise of a monetary reward. The father believed he
would then have at least half an hour to read his newspaper without interruption. Unfortunately, the boy
successfully completed the puzzle in about 2 minutes. His father was amazed and wondered how his son, who
had failed in geography, could have done it so fast. The boy shared his secret: he put together the figure of a man in a tailor’s ad on the other side of the map, instead. The boy said it was much easier to remake the man
and in that way to remake the world. Before Jesus leaves his disciples, He gives them this command:
“Go and make disciples of all nations!” The Acts of the Apostles quoted Paul and Barnabas repeating the Lord’s
command to them then and to us now, “I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an
instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13:44-52). Father Frank S. Salmani in his book
“Whom Shall I Send?” reminds us that Jesus commands his disciples to go out and not only spread the Good
News, but to literally recruit others to continue to spread the message, to find other disciples, “students” of
the Gospel who would continue the work of the first apostles. At the same time, Jesus does not ask
everyone to embrace the same call. He calls all to accept the Gospel, but He calls certain people to be
leaders to help others accept the call. It is not enough to just be followers. Some are called to lead others.
This is an idea that developed very soon in the early Church, as evident in St. Paul’s letters to the Corinthians.
While all are called to accept the Gospel in their lives and be baptized, others are set apart to be teachers
and leaders, to set the tone for others and help lead the way by means of witness of life and a dedication
to doing the Lord’s work. The Cursillo Movement’s Fundamental Ideas Book strongly recommends that the Pre-
Cursillo should be developed as a function of what is first, last, and always the goal of the Cursillo Movement:
to make possible the living out, and the living out together what is fundamental for being Christian. The
Fundamental Ideas also clarifies that the Pre-Cursillo grows out of the Post-Cursillo, andthe work of
Pre-Cursillo is accomplished above all through the word and witness of those who have made a Cursillo.
In addition to a prayerful and apostolic community as a witness to the authenticity of the Christian life,
there is a great need for the personal influence and contact which the Cursillista has with those whom he wishes to invite to make a Cursillo. Such aninvitation should be personal through a true friendship so that
the relationship may last long in the best interests of our evangelizing endeavors as we are advised to make a
friend, to be a friend and to bring that friend to Christ. The Leader’s Manual advises the sponsors to “explain
to the potential candidates the reason for the Cursillo Weekend in such a way that they will become enthusiastic about it. Since those who are interested in becoming a better person should attend the Cursillo, it is necessary that they see the Cursillo Movement as a means for attaining their desires. In this way, they will be Cursillistas by desire before attending. Therefore, recruiting candidates through the advertisements of the Cursillo Weekends on parish and diocesan newsletters or through any secular media are seriously discouraged.
According to the Fundamental Ideas, the candidates should be informed that “the Cursillo Weekend is not something theoretical but a lived experience that is oriented toward the Church, toward community, toward real life (FI # 231a). In his book “Lower Your Nets”, Juan Capó Bosch focused mainly on the person: selecting and orienting the candidates for the Cursillo Weekend. Quite a few Cursillistas are convinced that the Pre-Cursillo is to simply get people to come, and leave it to the Holy Spirit to do the rest.
Some consider the Cursillo as a cure-all and therefore, they wholeheartedly sign up their so-called “lukewarm”
relatives and friends with “spiritual” problems. The Leaders’ Manual recommends that the Cursillo candidates
should be capable of (1) being open to discern and to understand the Gospel message, (2) being committed
themselves to the love of God, of themselves and of their neighbors, (3) discovering their talents and potentials
with a view towards serving the community, (4) having clean or cleansable circumstances, (5) living the grace
through the Holy Sacraments they receive, and (6)having an attitude of progressive conversion. The
Sponsoring Workshop gives us the following advice: Prudence and charity ask thatwe not bring to the Cursillo
those who would not benefit from it, or those who have problems for which the Cursillo could provide
no solutions. Such individuals who have psychological or emotional problems; those who are of abnormal
situations due to illness or vice; those whose moral lives are so disoriented that they are incapable of
understanding the message or of living the Cursillo; those who, due to circumstances, cannot receive
the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of the Eucharist, because their life is contrary to the life of grace
and the Cursillo is centered in the Eucharist where one experiences the life of Grace; and evidently those
with a negative or pessimistic attitude. The suitable candidate, besides being a baptized Catholic, must have
a “certain personality”, i.e. capable of making his/her own decisions from his/her own motives, of moving
others with his/her opinions, of giving impetus to others by his/her actions, ofacting freely and lovingly,
and in other words, of becoming salt, light and leaven throughChristian core groups’ support and encourage-
ment. The Fundamental Ideas Book states “it is indispensable to give the candidates an adequate
preparation so that they can get the most from the Cursillo experience; such a preparation will also
facilitate their entry or re-entry into a group, a nucleus, or a community, during the time of the
Post-Cursillo” (FI #230).
Responsibilities of the Sponsors
Candidates’ selection for the Cursillo Weekend is very important and necessary, and so certainly
is candidate preparation. The Leaders’ Manual also states there is no better preparation and
attraction for the candidates than a personal and authentic witness of our Fourth Day, “See how they love
one another.” Such preparation should be done by means of a sincere friendship established through
personal contact. Therefore, sponsors, preferably the whole Friendship Group, rather than individuals,
are encouraged to provide their candidates with the necessary information about the Purpose of our Cursillo
Movement, such as the booklet “Cursillo Movement: What Is It?”. Sponsors are responsible to tell
their prospective candidates for the Cursillo what they are expected to do after their Weekend:
Group Reunion and Ultreya, which will help them, persevere in their conversion process and motivate
them to live what is fundamental to being Christian through examples. The sponsors’ responsibilities
should not stop as soon as their invited candidates enter the Cursillo Weekend, i.e. after the Pre-Cursillo
stage, but they must definitely continue throughout the Fourth Day of both the sponsors and their
new cursillistas, in prayers and in actions. The new Cursillistas need as much personal contact after the Cursillo
Weekend as they received before and during the Cursillo Weekend. Probably even more! We must make
a conscientious effort to insure that we do all that can be done to insert them into a friendship group reunion.
The sponsors themselves should help the new Cursillistas form or find a convenient Friendship Group, or
join an existing one, preferably the sponsors’ Friendship Group, and regularly accompany them to Ultreyas.
We are all instructed that “we do not find Total Security by attending Group Reunion and Ultreya, we find
Total Security by coming to understand that God loves us, unconditionally. i.e. there is nothing that can separate us from the Love of God found in Christ Jesus etc..., and Total Security in this context does not mean that life is now free of worries and problems. It simply means that in finding friendship with Christ, we come to
understand how God loves us. It is the Group Reunion and Ultreya that give us support and help us to
continue the process of conversion in which we deepen our friendship with Christ, becoming more and more
convinced of God’s love which is where we find Total Security” (Rollo “Total Security”– Cursillo Manual 2006).
In the Gospel of St. John, Philip said to Jesus, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever
has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?” (John 14: 8-9). And in another
occasion, St. John repeated what Jesus said to his disciples, “I give you a new commandment: love one another”
(John 15: 17). Jesus’ disciples lived with him and saw him every day, but they still insisted they wanted
to see God the Father. We ourselves saw neither Jesus nor the Father! How can our faith survive so far?
Truly, faith is a valuable gift from God that we must dearly treasure. The candidates for the Cursillo Weekend we are approaching may ask us to show Jesus to them. What can we tell them? Jesus says He is in the Father and
the Father is in Him. Is each one of us ready to say: “I am in Jesus and Jesus is in me” when people want to see
Jesus? Honestly, most of us dare not yet! It is a real challenge to us!
What is Palanca?
“Palanca” is a Spanish word which means "lever." A lever is normally used to move something which one could not move by normal strength. Palanca then, helps us achieve something not possible without the grace of God. As Jesus states in the Gospel of John, without Him we can do nothing. Palanca in the context of Cursillo is the same. All of our efforts to bring others to Christ can be of no avail without the prayers, sacrifices and spiritual works that are done with the help of the Holy Spirit which brings us the grace to be used to serve God. We are to do Palanca constantly, in the form of morning offerings, personal prayer periods, Masses, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, Rosaries, Stations of the Cross, and Spiritual Reading done solely for the success of Candidates, Team Members and the Cursillo Movement in general. The Palanca that we are familiar with from our own weekends is merely letting the people on the weekends know what we have done for them, and to encourage them in their spiritual journey. According to a National Cursillo Center Mailing from February 2008: “The “Fundamental Ideas of the Cursillo Movement” (FICM) strongly recognizes grace as principle and foundation of our Movement and considers Palanca as one of the basic elements of the Cursillo Strategy, known as the Mystery of the Palanca…Cursillo strategy has always given, as its most important characteristic, to Palanca (prayer, sacrifice, and works of mercy). Dependence on this has to be real, sincere and permanent, individual and communal, to guarantee the efficacy of any other steps one takes.”Palanca will be needed for our Diocese of St. Augustine Cursillo Weekends. There a few ways to get your Palanca to a candidate. You will be advised how to get the Palanca to the weekends.
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