Authentic Cursillo

The Authentic Cursillo – A Residential Course

The Cursillo is a short course and part of the Cursillo Method which supports active Christian witness enabling Christians to live out their baptismal vows and encouraging and supporting Christians in their discipleship and must never be looked at in isolation.

The Lay Rector is responsible for the running of the residential Cursillo; preparation and planning is to be overseen by the diocesan secretariat since they have the responsibility of ensuring each event fits within the terms of the British Anglican Cursillo licence.

Before you plan ensure

  • There is an active Fourth Day community
  • Pray for the leaders involved in organising the potential course
  • Become familiar with the available literature
  • Keep in mind that Cursillo is there to serve Christ and his church

Purpose of the Cursillo

During the event it is intended that all those attending

  • Encounter God, grow closer to Christ and receive afresh the power of the Holy Spirit
  • Understand themselves better
  • Learn more about the Christian community and their role in it
  • Become more effective as witnesses for Christ

Selection of Participants

Who should be invited to attend?

  • Pray about who God might be calling to be participants
  • Participants should be regular communicant members of an Anglican church
  • Anyone attending must be able to live alongside other people in community
  • It is recommended that future participants are invited to experience a Group Reunion before their Cursillo as an introduction to the Method they are being invited to join.

Who should not be invited to attend?

  • Seekers – this is not suitable for those who have not yet been baptised or are unable to accept the sacramental nature of the residential course
  • Those who are going through a personal crisis e.g. a recent bereavement
  • Anyone who would find living alongside others a struggle

Prayerful selection of participants is vital, as is praying for them before, during and after the course. There is a leaflet which covers what is involved in sponsoring people who attend; this is an important resource which should be read by anyone considering encouraging someone to attend. When inviting others it is important to be open about what is involved, answer any questions openly and honestly. There are no secrets in Cursillo.


Each Cursillo is unique and God touches participants individually. It must be remembered that all arrangements are given freely for the sake of the participants. There may be a temptation to try and recreate your own Cursillo experience, this is to be avoided.

Formation of the staff team

Team members should

  • be people who seek to live out their faith in their daily lives
  • be members of regular Group Reunion
  • have genuine care for, and be prepared to serve, others, both participants and members of the team
  • be able to take full part in the course, and preparation including attending training events

Those facing any personal crisis should not serve on team; everyone should ensure they are able to be fully involved and able to leave their personal concerns behind.

Developing relationships within the community is important and will flourish if the team are attentive, listen with an open heart and sincerely ‘Make a friend, be a friend and bring your friend to Jesus’.

Prayer and good preparation of the team is a bedrock for a successful event. Training days are crucial in building the team; prayerful preparation of the programme, talks and worship is important. More information on team building and preparation is available in a separate booklet ‘Weekend /Course Team Formation’.

The Rhythm of the Course

The Cursillo covers much that is already ‘known’ to its participants as it is approved teaching alongside the introduction of the participants to the Cursillo Method. The hope is that by experiencing living in the community of Cursillo, which is immersed in prayer and the Holy Spirit, the participants hear with fresh ears. During the Cursillo trust and confidence often develop enabling people to encounter God afresh.

The unique contribution of the Cursillo is what is given on the last day when the Cursillo Method is clearly described – a Method that is available the participants for the rest of their lives.

The Cursillo Method underlies the whole experience.

  • Prayer is the foundation of any course, and participants are encouraged to pray with and for one another – individually and corporately.
  • The discussion groups around the tables following each talk are an introduction to the fellowship experienced in Group Reunion.
  • The gathering of the groups to share the meaning of each day is an introduction to the fellowship experienced in larger groups similar to an Ultreya.
  • The Talks and Meditations challenge each person and help them to consider their particular situation, finding new ways to relate the Gospel to everyday life.
  • The periods of free time are intended to allow for reflection.

Flow of the Cursillo

Whether run during the week or over a weekend the reference to the length of the event over two or three days can be confusing. It might be helpful to remind people that any reference to the three days refer to a Jewish understanding of ‘day’; i.e. sunset to sunset but in Cursillo refers to the three sections or phases of the course, each is not an entity in itself but part of the whole experience. Each section looks at different aspects of the participant’s journey.

Understanding myself – Looking inward

Understanding Christ – Looking up

Understanding how Christ is calling me – Looking out

See attached appendix for diagrammatic representation of the flow of the Cursillo

Content of the Cursillo

  • The Authentic Cursillo consists of 15 Talks and 5 Meditations.
  • It usually includes daily worship (& if practical) a Eucharist.
  • It is important to ensure that there is sufficient space for reflection.
  • The experience of a Christian community in action.
  • Anything else in the programme is an ‘add-on’; it is important to think about what will be achieved by any addition.


The fifteen talks are delivered by both Lay members of the team (L) and the Spiritual Advisors (SA). Although the talks are listed as 15 talks they are really one long talk given in 15 sections. There are guidelines for the talks in the lay and clergy talks’ workbooks. It is important that those giving the talks follow the guidelines and ensure they include personal experience to bring the talks more alive.

  • Ideal (L)
  • Grace (SA)
  • Laity (L)
  • Faith (SA)
  • Piety (L)
  • Study (L)
  • Sacraments (SA)
  • Action (L)
  • Obstacles to a Life of Grace (SA)
  • The study of Environments (L)
  • Christian Life in Grace (SA)
  • Christian Community in Action (L)
  • Group Reunion (L)
  • Ultreya (L)


The meditations are delivered by the Spiritual Advisor and are an opportunity to encounter Christ through the scriptures.

The five meditations are:

  • Know Yourself
  • The Prodigal Son
  • The Three Glances of Christ
  • The Person of Christ
  • Message of Christ to the Participant


Worshipping together is a vital part of the Cursillo. This may include a Eucharist. In addition there may be other opportunities for communal worship; Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline on some of the days. A Service of Light is often included.

Working in Groups

  • Following some of the talks there will be opportunities to discuss together. The role of the table leaders is to listen carefully and guide the participants to think about how what they have heard is touching them.
  • It is important not to use the discussion to impose your own views
  • The Lay Rector will emphasise this in the training

Free Time

The programme should be managed to enable some free time for the participants. ‘Add ons’, such as Stations of the Cross, Visitation, Celebration Meal, Skits, Wake Up, etc. may be helpful but are not essential or required and can actually be a hindrance, restricting the time for individuals to reflect on what they have heard and are experiencing. It is helpful to ensure there are opportunities to share with others. It is important to remember that people learn in different ways so a balance must be sort between activity and free time.


Prayer is the essential foundation of the Cursillo and is the best gift that could possibly be given. It is offered by the staff team, sponsors, and all the Cursillo community, before, during and after the event.

It should be made clear that fundamentally Palanca is prayer, and any notes, gifts or other ‘goodies’ are merely the physical token of the prayer of the person who sent the Palanca. Some participants misunderstand the meaning of Palanca when they are overwhelmed by their ‘goody’ bag.

Chrisitan Community

Being part of Cursillo is an opportunity to experience the “love in action” of a supportive Chrisitan community to encourage its spread throughout other settings.

Confidentiality and behaviour

  • Confidentiality is crucial, people may share deeply in private conversations
    • If something of a safeguarding nature is revealed to you, you should not discuss it with anyone except the designated Safeguarding Officer on team
    • If you have any other concerns or anxieties about what has been said, it is appropriate to share them with either the Lay Rector or Spiritual Advisor, but with no-one else
  • It is recommended that each team member completes the online Basic Awareness and Foundation Safeguarding training available through the diocese
  • Confidentiality about everything on the Cursillo extends beyond the event and if you feel burdened by something discuss it with your Spiritual Director or the Spiritual Advisor from that Cursillo
  • Be aware that physical contact is entering someone’s personal space and that people have different thresholds of what they find comfortable and appropriate; e.g. wait until you are sure someone will be comfortable before you offer a hug and remember for some that may not be at any time.


  • The venue is key to how the Cursillo flows so should be carefully chosen
  • Review regularly if a venue continues to provide what you need
  • Discuss the programme and needs of the timetable with the staff at the venue, ensuring they understand what is needed, when and why
  • If food is not provided ensure you have enough team members or external help to cover food preparation and clearing up

After the Cursillo

  • The Cursillo is a catalyst for the Cursillo method and entry into their ‘Fourth Day’
  • It is the sponsor’s responsibility to ensure each participant is invited and accompanied into Group Reunion and other Fourth Day activities, see sponsorship booklet for more details.


Throughout the Cursillo the most important thing is to be sincere and genuine, not forcing anything or expecting any specific emotional response; let the Holy Spirit do the work. Members of the staff team should be confident that with the prayer support that is offered the Holy Spirit will guide and uphold the team and participants throughout their time together and in their Fourth Day.